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TTAG reader Jonathan Miller writes from France:

“Remember the old story about the sweet British bobby? Armed only with a truncheon and a helmet out of the keystone cops. Englishmen of a certain age will think of Dixon of Dock Green and Z-cars, the Blue Lamp, and the famous police call box pressed into service as a time machine by Dr. Who. Cancel all that. As this remarkable picture from illustrates, the modern British constable is tooled-up in a way that makes the average American SWAT team look under-gunned. I am no expert on this category of hardware (useless plinking at 50m targets with a .22 is more my style), but I think I see H&K machine pistols, Glock sidearms, and a sniper rifle that I can’t identify but definitely cost more than a few bob . . .

It was unfortunate perhaps for the met to be quite so self-revealing but an incident a high noon in the west end of London is hard to hide from the literally thousands of cameras that would have been present, and The Daily Mail, Britain’s emblematic tabloid, was dutifully shocked.

It is worth clicking on this link not only for the photographs, but the comments of the readers, which reveal an insight into the British mentality concerning firearms that one is unlikely to better. Par example . . .

Good, I’m glad they are armed and ready to go and I hope they’d have no qualms in using this equipment if need be. At times our cities are not safe places to be in, especially after 9/11. – Sarah

This is what our country needs…AND MORE OF THEM!!! – Dinxs, Ely, Cambs.

There are commentators who acknowledge the police state implications. Sadly, they may be too late.

I prefer our Country as it used to be. – Angel, UK

As a humble amateur of arms, I would be interested if someone could identify the rifle or anything else, or any errors make in The Mail’s notoriously feeble photo interpretation.”

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  1. What’s the point of the second pistol? Just in case he decides to go all John Woo on their unarmed butts?

    Honestly, I get the creeps when I see cops armed like this no matter what the country and even more nervous when people applaud governments tooling up against their people. No matter how much people say they’ve nothing to fear or the government is on their side, it only takes an errant suspicion or an “emergency” before they’re using all that hardware to trample your rights.

    Hope the security works out for you Britain, sorry about the liberty.

  2. and just think….if the citizens/hostages in the office building were allowed to conceal carry, it would have been over in less than 30 seconds.

  3. I too prefer their country as it used to be: When the average citizen was able to own firearms.

    So much for the little people. The British citizenry now know precisely where they stand on the order of importance: The very bottom.

      • Agree. The British populace are subjects and serfs, the US American populace are at least theoretically Citizens. I would agree that many times we are headed the same way as England.

      • Good point. But then, “subjects” was never a term to be used in that context by my dad during my childhood. Thank God.

    • I’m pretty sure that’s not a PSG-1 — the barrel’s too short, and it’s got a front sight, which the PSG-1 doesn’t.

  4. As someone with foot problems of my own, I would like to point out that the NHS needs to get that man some orthotics. Or at least a decent pair of shoes.

  5. Comment from a Forbes article.

    “Just two years after 9/11 a man yelled he was going to blow up the plane and guess what happened. The passengers beat him to death. What happened with the underwear guy? again beaten by passengers. I don’t care if you have a gun on a plane your clips going to run out eventually and the remaining men on the plane are going to kill you. Given this I see no need for the TSA.”

  6. First pic, looks like a serpa holster on the chest, can you actually safely draw from a serpa secured to the chest like that? Back in the day, we carried primary sidearm on the thigh and backup in the abdomen region in a Velcro pocket on the chest rig.

  7. After last big london riots 2011. Police discover that night sticks unforms do not stop groups well arm people from rioting in streets.

  8. Seems odd dosen’t it? If they disarmed everyone in the UK, what is the purpose of this display? Oh wait, the bad guys don’t follow the rules and in the UK the govt. has more right to live than you

  9. Its an HK G3K SG/1, the barrel is shorter and the FSB is closer to the charging handle than a regular G3. Their development/procurement stems from when HK did a large batch of shortened G3s with collapsable stocks for “certain” British units working in N. Ireland.

    Not the first time CO19 (formerly SO19) has been deployed en force and photographed by the lads of Fleet Street. (at least they pixelated some of the faces this time)

  10. They have been armed for decades. A friend of mine was a flying squad commander in the 70’s. FYI it has nothing to do with planes. Although he was SAS in Vietnam.

  11. A couple of follow-up points. There is some speculation that not all the armed police seen in the pictures are in fact police. The speculation is that they are special-forces soldiers who have been attached to the police. This is possibly because the police firearms units have not been known for their expertise in manœuvre having been trained primarily in containment. Obviously, after Mumbai, there is a requirement for possible engagement of mobile terrorists and one can be pretty sure that with the olympics in less than 90 days, the forces of law an order have been well reinforced.

    It is correct that British police have sometimes been armed and this is not new. But this used to be very discreet. I think what is new is the ‘men in black’ element.

    Some of your commentators make excellent points about Britain as an incipient police state. A female friend was recently arrested and held in a cell for 5 hours after a neighbour accused her of making a racist remark. Apart from the fact that there is not a racist bone in this woman’s body, she has been subjected to many frightening months while the Crown Prosecution Service diddled and fiddled befor finally concluding there was absolutely no credibility in the accusations and no case to answer. It has cost her a fortune in legal fees and much anxiety. In Britain you are now arrested BEFORE there is any investigation at all. If you are accused of a crime against political correctness, you will be banged up right away. Freedom and liberty are becoming pretty alien concepts on our side of the herring pond.

    • Moral of the story is that Benjamin Franklin was right.
      Those who trade essential Liberties for a temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty or the safety.

  12. Gee, why do the English Storm Troopers needs all that gear, when all that “reasonable and sensible ” Gun Control was supposed to result in a utopian Big Brother land filled with Unicorns, Butterflies, Rainbows, and Leprechans with Lucky Charms?

  13. The world really has fvcked itself inside out knowing the timeless image of the friendly neighborhood constable has been replaced with these guys. Two glocks plus a G36? Come on, what is Mr. Hyde on the prowl for real this time? I don’t care how bad things get over there anymore. I still laugh knowing that we designed their Lee-Enfield rifle they used in both World Wars from the ground up, and that they paid the Germans at H&K to upgrade and fix the absolute failure that was the early SA80. So much for self-reliance in the once mighty Empire.

  14. On a sadder note, this was about on par with what I saw when I visited London in 2004. Every cop I saw was tooled up like that, walking the beat. G36 and all. Every. Last. One. Of. Them. I wouldn’t even be opposed to it if their citizens had any rights. And Mikey spare me the “they have more rights than you do” routine. That government plays nice with its people because it is in their best interest to do so…for now. If that population ever truly challenged the status quo I am betting the population would discover just how much self-determination they actually have: zero.

    Step 1: Disarm public through a gradual erosion of liberty over time: CHECK

    Step 2: Create police state: CHECK

    Step 3: Begin systematically eroding other areas of liberty: PROCESSING

  15. This graphic was clearly made by a 14 year boy.

    Plus his chest rig is certainly not ballistic kevlar, in fact, he may not even have a plate in there.

    And the G36 that fires 25 rounds. . . why doesn’t he put 30 in his mags like everyone else? Or can his G36 only fire 25 rounds. Maybe that’s why he’s no longer holding it. Probably the same deal with the Glocks. They’re one time use only. Fire 17 rounds, toss gun. That’s why he has two.

    Why couldn’t they just say that the watch is a Casio G-Shock (most likely not titanium, not that titanium makes it better)? It’s favored by people who want a durable watch that is inexpensive. . . oh and special forces.

    Not to mention, that dude is really pigeon toed (and possibly knock-kneed). But I’ll leave the poor dude alone, as anonymous as he is, it’s not his fault they photographed him.

  16. A couple of thoughts:

    1) The vast majority of British cops are still not firearms trained, and never carry guns, though they are required to wear “anti-stab” vests at all times.

    2) A lot of the super-tactical looking guys probably aren’t police, but rather SAS and SBS – unlike in the US, special forces in the UK are an integral part of domestic anti-terror work.

    3) A lot of the DM commenters are reacting to the fact that yobs run free in the streets and known terrorist facilitators live large on welfare and other benefits, while they are getting crushed by taxes and EU Regs. They figure that since they already lost their liberties, they’d like to at least see some of the right heads cracked for a change.

  17. They sure have a lot of faith in these armed thugs doing the right thing with all those toys. One question though, where were all these tough guys when rioters burned half the town down last summer?

  18. We have family in Northern England and it’s scary what’s happening to the place.
    I know I’m coming into this conversation late, but no one has mentioned the special forces guy carrying his rifle pointed up under his chin.


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