Yesterday, two unarmed UK police officers died in a grenade and gun attack. The as-yet-unnamed perp murdered Pc Fiona Bone, 32, and Pc Nicola Hughes, 23; setting off a firestorm of firearms “debate.” Needless to say the gun-oriented hand-wringing doesn’t include even a passing mention of restoring the average Brit’s once-sacred right to armed self-defense. It’s all about whether or not the UK should arm the police—despite the fact that the issue has already been settled . . .

“We have firearms officers regularly patrolling the streets of the UK already,” the Police Federation of England and Wales told dailymail.co.uk. Indeed they do, especially in areas with “high value” targets (e.g., The City, Heathrow Airport, The Mall), where coppers with MP5’s are as common as twenty-somethings with taut abs at thechive.com.

But really, the last thing The Land of Hope and Glory wants to become is . . . America. Yes folks, that’s the UK’s excuse for sending unarmed police against armed criminals (and prohibiting civilians from protecting themselves against violence by force of arms).

The president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir Hugh Orde, warned against a rush to routinely arm officers.

‘Guns don’t necessarily solve the problem,’ he said. ‘You only have to look at the American experience. Many colleagues in America are lost without even drawing their gun at close ranges.’

Sir Hugh said it was the ‘clear view of the British police service from top to bottom’ that officers prefer to be unarmed because the public dislike approaching constables bearing weapons.

He said minimum use of force and intervention was the ‘bedrock’ of Britain’s policing model.

A police state—the most surveilled nation on planet earth where subjects do not have a right to remain silent—led by a knighted bureaucrat whose minions want to maintain good PR by being at the mercy of armed thugs. I mean, by being so nice that they don’t carry guns. Even though a lot of them do.

Makes sense to me. But let’s hear it again anyway . . .

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester force has also rejected calls for more guns on the streets.

Sir Peter Fahy said: ‘We are passionate that the British style of policing is routinely unarmed policing.

‘Sadly we know from the experience in America that having armed officers certainly does not mean, sadly, that police officers do not end up getting shot.’

Sadly, the UK’s coppers work in a country with higher violent crime rates than the U.S.: 2,034 vs. 466 violent crimes per 100k residents. Assuming the numbers haven’t been fudged. In fact, Britain tops the league table for the highest crime rates in Europe.

So whether or not the UK police get shot less than U.S. cops may be THE question for UK police, one wonders what, if anything, they’re going to do about the violent crime problem plaguing the commoners.

Oh wait! I know. Ratchet-up police numbers, increase government surveillance and up penalties for anyone who dares possess a weapon with which they’d have a chance of defending themselves. All in the name of creating a country where gun violence doesn’t happen, except when it does.

Sounds like a plan.

61 Responses to UK Police Chiefs: We Don’t Want Guns

    • It is safe as a vault, when you depart your highrise flat in the high-security building and then get driven in your Rangie to your secure office building in a nice part of town. You then weekend at countryside mini-estate.

      As long as you’re not an anti-Mafia prosecutor in Italy, life is rather safe when you barely even see the plebes. Were old Piers to live in a Council House in Camberwell or Peckham he might have a slightly different attitude after the chavs relieved him of his wallet.

    • Could someone provide a source link for the bogus chart entitled “The League of Shame” that alludes to it being statistics from a commission of the UN?

    • I’m glad I’m not an LEO in the UK. I wouldn’t want to use my conflict resolution skills against guns and hand grenades. Tasers are nifty, but I wouldn’t they’re not much in a grenade fight! (or a gasoline fight…)

    • Exactly. There’s no reason for police to be armed at all times in the US either. I’m confident that officers would be a lot friendlier and less arrogant if they didn’t have a gun to make them feel tough when collecting money for the city / county / state.

      • I’m pretty much armed at all times off duty, so I’m going to be armed all of the time on duty. Just being in uniform makes you a target – and some of my friends have experienced that first hand. I often tote a Glock 27, so at least we have that in common.

        • Maybe if you didn’t spend 95% of your time pissing off people who aren’t criminals just to make a bit of extra cash for your masters, people wouldn’t have it in for you? Crazy idea, I know….

        • You sound like your scared. “In uniform I’m a target”, “I’m armed all the time”. Unless you live in a shitty neighborhood i think your over reacting.

    • Yup. If the people cant have guns, than neither should the cops. The solution is to (of course) arm both. Though, because of their immigration laws……catey bar the doors.

  1. Hey Robert, that link to the pics of chic’s with hot abs and toned bellies is about as good as I’ve ever seen. Uh, I read the article but I can’t seem to recall what it was about.

  2. I think they should reconsider the policy and disarm all of the police. For that matter they should disarm their military as well.

    I suggest a policy of universal equal rights.

    No politician, government agent, or representative should be permitted to exempt themselves from the rules they impose on others.

    If the people cannot have guns, and remember the government is just a group of people, then the police, military, and any other government agents are not permitted to have guns. Because they are all made of groups of people…

    If you’d like a syllogism.

    British Subjects are prohibited from possessing guns.
    British Government Agents are British Subjects.
    Therefore British Government Agents are prohibited form possessing guns.

    The only way to get around this logic is to assign different rules for different people. Which completely undermines the concept of law. E.g. a law not equally applied is no law at all.

    Of course this presupposes we hold the government and society to rational and consistent standards… which is just silly because shut up!

    Insert obvious “Animal Farm” reference here.

    • Whoa, whoa, whoa! Easy with the logic and rational conjecture there, fella! Those in Her Majesty’s service don’t have to take that sh!t from the likes of you.

  3. WTF, grenades? Okay, so technically the Batman movie massacre could be considered a grenade attack because of the tear gas, but were these fragmentation grenades? When was the last time you heard of that happening in the US? Personally, I prefer it if our crazies stick to small arms and don’t branch out into explosives.

  4. If you put a wig and lipstick on Sir William he’d look much like some dame. Hope my comment doesn’t cause rioting and the burning of embassies.

  5. This article here from the BBC sheds some light on why the police in the UK historically haven’t had weapons. The gist is that they were trying to avoid the new police force being compared to the infantry, which led to a lack of weapons as well as blue uniforms instead of red. It could even be argued that the progenitors of the UK’s police were aiming to prevent any notion of a militarized force–something to which I thought this site was opposed. Given the circumstances, I’m with Ralph on this one. Furthermore, as this site always preaches, and rightly so, police don’t prevent crime so much as respond after the fact; therefore citing violent crime statistics and implying some connection to the unarmed nature of the UK police strikes me as a bit inconsistent, logically speaking. You could argue that the unarmed nature of civilians leads to higher crime rates in the cited nations, but that wasn’t the point of the story (or was it?). I could go on about cops and guns and violent crime, but I merely wanted to point out what I saw as a couple of inconsistencies by TTAG.

    • I understand your confusion and appreciate the fact that you’re keeping us—me—honest. A couple of points to clarify…

      1. I am not against an armed police force. At all. I’m OK with armed civilians (i.e., police). I’m also OK with armed soldiers under military command. But I am against blurring the lines between the two: militarized police. A beat cop with a Glock is a far cry from a SWAT team with patrol rifes, body armor, flash bangs, tanks, helicopters, drones, etc. For example.

      2. I cited the relative levels of violent crime (U.S. to U.K.) to make the point that the UK’s unarmed cops are not inherently more effective than armed cops. And to show that unarmed civilians in the UK are more at risk than U.S. civilians.

      Does that help?

      • Quite. I’ll admit I’m rather flattered my reply warranted a response from the head man himself. I suppose my anecdotal history lesson was meant to be simply informative rather than argumentative. And as to those stats, they actually are quite shocking in their illustration of your last point, something I missed in the article. Again, I write only to solidify your argument, that it may not be exploited by those less sympathetic of this website’s cause célèbre. Best regards.

  6. Enoch Powell was right. Londonistan is screwed. Now thanks to the Iron Lady old Albion is the most surveilled strip of land in human history. Empires die when they lose faith in themselves.

  7. And the Swiss, who don’t wet themselves at the sight of a gun, don’t make the European top ten crime list. Hmmm……

    • Nor does the Czech Republic — whose concealed carry laws are on par with the state of Utah!

      For anyone who doesn’t know about concealed carry in Utah, once you pass a background check, complete training, and receive your concealed carry license, you can carry concealed everywhere! That’s right — there are no state imposed restrictions or gun-free zones. (Of course federal buildings in Utah still consider armed citizens to be criminals but that’s a different story.)

  8. Besides the whole idea of not arming your police force (which is dumb in my opinion). I couldn’t believe the chart on the rate of violent crimes, it’s insane. I never would have guessed half of those countries ranked that high like Canada. I feel like it’s necessary to carry concealed here in the US and apparently a lot safer than most places.

  9. So why does no one throw Northern Ireland in their faces? Last time I had the energy to care, RPGs, battle rifles, bombs, full auto buzz guns, etc. were quite common. All this in a population of 1.8 million. I have to say the Brits get away Scot free (pun intended) on this. Neither those pesky Irish lads, nor the various cops and military patrolling the streets are gun free. Matter of fact here is the annual summary on security on Northern Ireland (I had to chop it a bit, but I’ll give you the link):

    Section 1: Security Statistics Summary
    Generally the security situation in Northern Ireland has improved significantly over the last
    ten years with fewer security related deaths, shootings, bombings and paramilitary style
    shootings and assaults recorded in 2011/12 than ten years ago in 2002/03. However, a
    significant threat still remains as evidenced by the one security related death in 2011/12
    and the numerous shooting and bombing incidents as well as with the continued use of
    paramilitary style shootings and assaults.
     During 2011/12 there was one security related death and this was of a PSNI officer
    who was murdered on 2nd April 2011 in Omagh. Compared to 10 years ago, the
    level of security related deaths has decreased significantly. In 2002/03 there were 15
    security related deaths compared with one security related death in 2011/12 and one
    in the previous year in 2010/11.
     In 2011/12 the police recorded 67 shooting incidents and 56 bombing incidents. This
    was lower than in the previous year (72 shooting incidents and 99 bombing incidents
    in 2010/11). The numbers of shooting and bombing incidents have decreased in the
    last 10 years with the lowest levels recorded during 2006/07 and 2007/08 before
    slightly increasing again in subsequent years. Ten years ago in 2002/03 there were
    348 shooting incidents and 178 bombing incidents
     During 2011/12 there were 33 paramilitary style shootings, the same number as in
    2010/11 and 132 fewer than the 165 recorded 10 years ago in 2002/03. All 33
    paramilitary style shootings recorded in 2011/12 were attributed to Republicans as
    have been the vast majority of all such shootings since 2007/08.
     In 2011/12 there were 46 paramilitary style assaults, 4 fewer than in 2010/11 and 98
    fewer than the 144 recorded 10 years ago in 2002/03. Of the 46 recorded in
    2011/12, 31 (67%) were attributed to Loyalists and 15 (33%) were attributed to
    Republicans.
     There were 176 firearms seized by the PSNI during 2011/12 compared to 86 seized during the previous year. Over the last 10 years the numbers of firearms seized each year has remained relatively constant with a peak in 2005/06 when 365 firearms were seized.
     During 2011/12, 43.8kg of explosives was seized compared with 2.9kg in 2010/11. This increase was due to a number of larger seizures made by the police throughout the year with the largest being 25.0kg seized in Dungannon during April 2011.
     In 2011/12, 159 people were arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act and 39 were subsequently charged. This is down slightly on the previous year when 195 persons were arrested and 41 were subsequently charged1. Over the last 10 years there has been a decrease in the numbers of persons arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act and in subsequent charges. In 2002/03, 240 persons were arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act with 97 subsequently charged and in 2003/04 there were 339 arrests with 102 subsequently charged.

    http://www.psni.police.uk/index/updates/updates_statistics/updates_security_situation_and_public_order_statistics.htm

  10. Guns and grenades? Were the assailents IRA or AQ? It’s damn near impossible for a citizen to get a grenade in the US so how a regular criminal in the UK get one?

    • tdiinva, it’s impossible for law abiding citizents to get grenades. But the people willing to use them on unarmed cops are a whole other story. As with all arms laws, those of us willing to play by the rules are the only ones affected.

  11. OMG We didn’t even make the top ten!! I feel left out now! 😉
    Well not really.
    Seriously though.. I suspect when radicals take root in the country and folks start dieing on a daily basis they might re-evaluate the situation. Roots have already started to grow, but haven’t smacked them in the face yet.
    Unfortunately like most countries many will die before they figure out what to do.

  12. Ugh, I was born into the wrong damn country. I may consider myself something of a patriot, but even my devotion can be tested at times like this.

  13. In the last 20 years less than 2 Bobbies a year have been killed in the line of duty, it is more dangerous being an electrician! Arming the police in the UK will only result in more coppers being killed as more criminals arm themselves in response. The fact that more violent crimes occur as a result is no major concern for them! Ironically the British police kill more civilians accidentally than civilians kill police deliberately! British firearms officers are so incompetent I fear that increasing their numbers would result in the deaths of more innocents.

    • Well, it’s certainly more dangerous to be a Brazilian electrician in London. That aside, the firearms officers I know of are pretty competent.

  14. I would LOVE to see an anonymous survey of the actual unarmed beat cops in the UK, and see how many, if given the choice, would prefer to carry a gun.

  15. “[…]where coppers with MP5′s are as common as twenty-somethings with taut abs at thechive.com.”

    I stopped reading right there.

    If you can’t hammer out a single article without intimating “hurrrr i LiEk b00bies,” in it somewhere, then you no longer deserve my readership.

    • I write LOADS of articles without reference to boobies. (Not to be pedantic but this one had a reference to women’s abs.) If, however, even a single reference to attractive women renders this website unsuitable for your patronage I’m afraid we’re not a match made in heaven. And I don’t mean that in a homoerotic way, as far as I know.

      • Some people take themselves too seriously. They end up being more trouble than they’re worth in the long run. A good example is religious institutions.

      • This female doesn’t mind the references to, or even pics of, various feminine body parts (except for those pangs of jealousy over what age, gravity, and, yes, sloth, have done to various of my parts; but that’s another topic, and one best avoided).

        I would, however, appreciate a little equality – some nice pics of male parts (or better yet, the whole safe-for-work male) or links to such would be nice. Not that I can’t find them on my own. It would just be a convenient time saver 🙂

  16. I would love to see a chart comparing per capita murders in GB (not just those committed with firearms) to the rate in the US. Vagaries in what is considered a violent crime impact the accuracy of the graph. Remeber, self-defense in England is a violent crime, so they over report. Germany’s definition is very narrow, and they may underreport. So lets just compare murders to murders. Anybody got those stats? And for giggles, let’s throw in the stats for Canada too.

    • You won’t like these numbers for 2009:

      US total homicides: 15,241
      UK total homicides: 724

      US homicide rate per 100,000: 4.96
      UK homicide rate per 100,000: 1.2

      • I remember reading recently that the bobbies don’t report assault, murder, et al unless a conviction is obtained. I’ll see if I can find a link.

  17. Hers’ something. In 2011-2012, England had only 550 homicides. Not bad. But they also had 5911 firearms offenses and 31000 knife offenses. In a country with 1/6th the population of the US. Hmmm, the BBC also reports only 720,ooo violent crimes (does not include Scotland). Time to update our stats?

  18. Comparing us to England or any other country is useless. We aren’t England or france or germany or switzerland. Each country has it’s own set of unique circumstances that make such comparison pretty worthless.

    As for stats. The stat that says there’s a 99.7% chance that you’ll never have to use your gun to defend your life is worthless at 2 am and you hear breaking glass downstairs.

  19. So with the average beat cop in England being unarmed, how does that affect the number fo dogs shot by police? My first thought was it must be better to be a dog there than here where it’s the first thing shot by police entering a room, but I could be wrong.

  20. I agree. Until the population has their natural right to arms restored, the UK cops SHOULDN’T have guns. AAMOF, take the guns away from the ones who DO have them.

  21. Robert,
    A quick note about your UK crime stats above. The UK has two main crime stats, the police records and the British Crime Survey (looks like source of your data above). The BCS is closer to true crime numbers and tends to run about double the police records but even it under reports due to some of its rules (look at British crime report on wiki for details). Hope this helps anyone challenged on there stats when talking to others.

  22. Robert

    The violent crime rates are meaningless due to what actually constitutes & is recorded as a “violent crime” here.
    Shouting, finger waving, prodding, spitting, verbal abuse & umpteen other minor acts are classed as such.
    If the FBI definition of a violent crime is used, then the rate here is just under double that of the US but the US homicide rate is five times that of the UK.
    The rank & file Police officers here are overwhelmingly against being routinely armed & this hasn’t resulted in huge numbers of murdered officers, with 16 officers shot or stabbed in the last 20 years.
    One thing to remember about this recent tragedy is that the two officers were sent to investigate a possible burglary & NOT to apprehend a known to be armed criminal already wanted for two homicides.
    You can bet your life that if officers knew Cregan was in that house, then those attending would have been heavily armed & in armoured vehicles. Chances are he’d have left in a bag.
    There’s a fair amount of misconception on TTAG about how things actually are over here in the UK (just as there are here as to the US).
    I’d willingly help to dispel some of them, like we can’t have guns, or only one, or only on Sundays…;-)

  23. I didnt read the story but just saw that table “league of shame” on a google image search. I do not know who made it but it cannot be right. It says that the are more violent crimes (in total and per capita) in the UK than south africa… South africa, the country with highest murder rate of any country with a population greater than 35 million according to UNODC data. That is like saying Canada is has more violent crimes per capita than Honduras.

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