Friday, October 8, 2010

An outbreak of common sense?

Well in theory anyway.

The coroner who presided at the inquest into the death of Mark Saunders has told the Home Secretary, Theresa May, more "common sense" is needed in firearms operations.
Dr Paul Knapman has written to Mrs May saying there is currently "slavish adherence" to written documents and protocols.
He said officers may not be able to "see the wood for the trees".
He listed six manuals which firearms officers have to abide by.
Two of the Metropolitan Police manuals are over 90 pages long.
Dr Knapman also said it would be an advantage in long-running operations for a very senior officer to review what is happening - someone with the confidence that goes with not being too "risk averse" - so they can change the tactics and strategy if needed.
The coroner has also written to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, with his suggestions for improvements.
Now whether or not the police should have shot Saunders is moot in my point of view, the man was clearly waving a dangerous weapon around had already opened fire at armed officers as well as at neighbouring homes. he might well have been in a delicate mental state as well as being under the influence of alcohol, but I wouldn't take a chance in that situation nor would I expect the police too either. You either put the gun down or you get shot and trust me they will not shoot to disable either.
Common sense dictates though that the rules be simple and clearly understandable with one guy in ultimate charge not a load of marksmen loaded down with 6 manuals some over 90 pages long. It needs really to be condensed down to a single sheet for the marksmen with the officer in charge having a fuller and more in depth knowledge of procedures. It really needs to be understood that if you fire at the police they will fire back. If you don't put down the weapon, they will shoot you, even if the weapon is a table leg in a plastic bag. Simple rules and procedures, that even the public can understand.
Yes mistakes might be made, but there will be fewer mistakes if everyone knows the rules and aren't trying to second guess how this incident matches with such and such protocol.

1 annotations:

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Having some acquaintance with firearms and having seen my local county constabulary perform an utterly woeful armed vehicle stop, spent a day watching amateurish intimidatory posturing by Met firearms officers around the London American Embassy (the comparison to the armed US Marines couldn't have been starker) I am unimpressed by the proficiency displayed by British police when given guns. HERE and HERE are some more well known examples.

Our police system is a shambles with experienced officers hemorrhaging away to Canada, New Zealand etcetera and their replacements being distinctly sub standard and directed by what one can only assume are utter boobs.

The mention of the Tesco bag table leg makes my piss boil and I suggest that you research that particular incident - it having the hallmarks of this rather than stopping a post pub drunk weaving his way home....

I'm all for a disciplined, well drilled and competent armed police presence with clear rules of engagement where the situation demands it.

Allowing mismanaged, gun toting buffoons onto the streets is going to end in tears - with more skewed justice arse cover to protect the guilty, the spiral down to a resented paramilitary force is guaranteed trust me on that...