Updated: Friday, 23rd August 2019 @ 11:02am

Piccadilly Pulse: British police officers – should they be routinely armed following Manchester shootings?

Piccadilly Pulse: British police officers – should they be routinely armed following Manchester shootings?

By Jeremy Culley & Ben Ireland

The tragic deaths of two Greater Manchester Police officers this week refuelled arguments that the British force should be routinely armed.

Currently, armed response units are mobilised only to deal with suspects believed to be carrying firearms themselves – apart from in Northern Ireland, officers carrying out regular duties are largely unarmed.

This policy is a huge constrast from the United States and many European countries, where police always carry weapons.

Yesterday, Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, ruled out arming officers in Britain despite many questioning the decision after the deaths of PC Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone – who were shot and killed in Hattersley on Tuesday.

Michael Winstanley, the Conservative candidate for Manchester Police Commissioner, said: “I can fully understand why people are calling for officers to be routinely armed.

“We need to look at the tragic events earlier in the week and see what changes can be made.”

In a poll, we asked Manchester: Should police officers be routinely armed?

Opinion Result
Yes 29%
No 71%

Here’s your view regarding the potential arming of police officers:

Teagan Allen, 25, council employee, Nottingham, said: “Yes [they should], I was outraged at the recent events. For the little money they’re paid, they deserve more protection.”

Joanna Malinowska, 25, interior designer, Nottingham, said: “Their job is to protect us, they need the means to do it.”

Cameron Gibbon, 18, student, Manchester, said: “I think they should still only be armed in situations that are usually dangerous enough to warrant it.”

Alan Wright, 55, Manchester, retired: “If police are armed everyone else will be armed and the situation could escalate. Police need more protection but not in that way.”

Sue Wilson, 54, nurse, Mansfield: “Both sides of the argument have merit. If they [the Police] are armed they might use their weapons without just cause.

“If not, they could be vulnerable and I would like to think out police officers are equipped to protect us.”

Rob Gehlhaar, 19, apprentice chef, Ramsbottom, said: “I think they should always be protected, by wearing body armour, but they’d be more likely to get shot if they carried guns”

Sam Jones, 47, office administrator, Chorley, said: “We don’t want to get like America. There are enough people getting killed anyway”

Linda King, 57, industrial organiser, London, said: “Just look at that street vendor in London. What would have happened to him if the police had guns?”

Claire Petch, 27, retail worker, Woodley, said: “Individual officers should have the choice. If they feel they would be safer they should have the choice, but they shouldn’t have to.”

A retired policewoman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Definitely not. They have back up that protects them in majority of cases.”

Rosie Oliver, 22, student, Manchester: “We’d just end up with a gun culture and to accommodate arming the police we’d have to loosen gun regulations. We don’t have that gun culture now, and I don’t want one.”

Joe Cross, 29, music producer, Manchester, said: “A flat no from me. Just look at France where the police have an aggressive presence. People don’t respect them. America is known for police having guns, and they have one of the highest crime rates in the western world.”

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