November 27th, 2011

Forked tongues

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So the new Met Chief, Hogan-Howe, is considering upping the number of Taser-trained officers in London. This was brought to the fore last week when four officers were stabbed. He says he wants a Taser available in every police car. That’s more than we have and we’ve had them since they were first authorised in the UK.

The usual subjects are lining up to criticise the fact that the police might be able to better protect themselves, and others. Amnesty International said: “There are instances when Tasers can be an effective weapon. However, such incidences are rare. There are more than 2,000 Met police officers who are already able to use Tasers, so it’s not clear why these officers weren’t called upon this Saturday.”

I suggest someone from Amnesty sticks on a  blue uniform and works the streets of the UK for a while to see just how rare instances are where Taser can be an effective weapon. Amnesty clearly have absolutely no idea how quickly a dangerous situation can develop nor how long it takes to get one of those ’2,000′ Tasers to an incident. I have no idea how many Met officers are trained to use Taser but someone in Amnesty needs a simple maths lesson.

If there are 2,000 officers and the Met work a 5-shift pattern, that means that on average there are 400 officers available, given that 800 will be on rest days and 800 will be on other shifts. Then factor in those who are training and not available, those on annual leave and sick, and those who are suspended from using it because they have used it and are being investigated for it. Probably something less than 400 officers, to cover the whole area, and be there within the minute or two they’d have been of use. I think Amnesty need a reality check. Still, I don’t suppose sitting on your arse in a comfy office criticising the old bill gives you much real-world experience.

London Assembly member Dee Doocey, has said that equipping more officers with Taser “would do irreparable damage to the reputation of our unarmed police service.” The strange thing is that this doesn’t seem to be borne out in the other forces around the country. I can’t say we’ve taken many calls from people in my force area wringing their hands at the loss of our Dixon of Dock Green-esque reputation since we got all tooled up.

I don’t suppose hard facts and knowledge make for good quotes though.

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  1. baz says:

    I really don’t understand the constant harping on about remaining un-armed in the UK, times change, Dixon of Dock Green would probably have been stabbed a long time ago if he worked in the job in the UK these days.

    Whats most frustrating is how the people who seem to be steering the sinking ship that is the British Police, and affecting operational policies, like Amnesty International and Dee Doocey, are totally unqualified and have no relevant experience to be making these judgments. As 200 pointed out, if they did, they would not be comming out with the tripe they come out with.

    I have just done my Taser training here in Oz, Tasers are safe, i know this as i and all my collegues got Tasered as part of our training. When people die and Tasers are involved, the Taser is just the straw the breaks the camels back, usually they have mental health problems, have taken a concoction of drugs and alcohol, are in terrible physical health, and have been physically exerted themselves (usually fighting with police), so Taser is just the final thing that causes a heart attack.

    November 28th, 2011 at 08:51

  2. boy on a bike says:

    The public very quickly gets used to people walking around armed. Whenever we used to do an exercise somewhere, our regiment would practically take over a small country town for 2-3 weeks. We’d be armed at all times (blanks of course), and if we got the chance, we’d hit the bakery or petrol station for snacks and cokes. Within a day or two, the shopkeepers and locals would bat an eyelid at 20 blokes pouring off a truck and hungrily roaming the aisles loaded with SLRs, M16s, M60s, grenade launchers and anti-tank rockets. The least armed person – the padre – would have a Browning 9mm.

    If we ran into Joe Public out in the boonies, we’d stop and have a chat and do a bit of trading. Since the pub was out of bounds, if Mr Public had cold beer in his vehicle, we’d trade a six pack for blasting off a mag from an M16. Mrs Public wasn’t always that impressed with her husband going spastic with a rifle in front of the kids.

    So I really don’t get all this crap about needing to stay unarmed to maintain public confidence.

    November 28th, 2011 at 10:09

  3. Rufus says:

    Dixon of Dock Green is surprisingly prescient in one respect though, Jack Warner was still working (albeit in a deskbound role) at the age of 80.

    It’s only 20, no 15, no 13 years away from being accurate at the moment.

    Baz, the problem is that while Tasers are almost entirely safe, don’t overlook the capacity of people to get themselves killed by the most benign and harmless of devices (I’ve come across stories of people being asphyxiated by wheelie bins and plastic clothes airers this year alone). The idiots who are coming out with the tripe are completely unconcerned about Officer safety or public safety if there is even the shadow of a possibility that some harm might come to the innocent-half-naked-man-running-through-the-shopping-centre-with-a-samuri-sword-shouting-at-the-top-of-his-lungs-at-people-who-aren’t-there.

    The odds of getting any of them in a position where they might see the need to have the ability that Taser provides, unless they happen to be shopping in the same shopping centre, are about the same as my chances of walking to Australia from the UK

    November 28th, 2011 at 10:12

  4. jaded says:

    Do these out of touch lefties faint with shock at the sight of armed officers at Heathrow?Or when their plane touches down in Tuscany and they are confronted by armed Italian police?
    The main reason we are unarmed is tradition.I’m all for certain traditions being kept up in this modern world,but some have to change.I don’t see child going up chimneys anymore and that was a great British one wasn’t it!

    November 28th, 2011 at 11:16

  5. southernbobby says:

    This issue needs some major public exposure because Joe Public doesn’t really understand what Tazer is. For many years officers have carried Wooden Clubs (Truncheons), recently replaced with metal bars (ASPs) which are specifically designed to hit people who are trying to attack me.No one raises an eyebrow! Now I also have Tazer.
    If I hit someone with my ASP, the chance is they will be hurt and have long lasting effects eg broken bones. If I Tazer someone the effects end as soon as I release the trigger. I know which I would rather be on the end of.

    November 28th, 2011 at 12:38

  6. Tom says:

    Police have been given chemical weapons (Pepper spray), and a projectile weapon (TASER), so why not a 9 mm?

    November 28th, 2011 at 14:32

  7. southern bobby says:

    Tom,With any weapon there is always a chance of a fatality, but with a 9mm the chances are greatly increased. If I thought that Police would get the support I would agree, but sadly we don’t. If an officer shoots someone they are immediately looking at potential murder charge, going to prison, losing job pension home etc. I’m not prepared to risk this over a split second decision. Even if the officer is later cleared of all blame, the stress he/she would go through in the meantime doesn’t bear thinking about.

    November 28th, 2011 at 14:53

  8. Fee says:

    Actually, I have no idea if my local force (Lothian & Borders) have tasers or not. I have little to no interaction with the police (limited to the odd phone call to grass on boozing teenagers) but so far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t do their job with the tools they currently have. Actually, I wouldn’t do it at all. I’m perfectly happy for them to have the tools they need, whether that be taser, proper guns, or flamethrowers.

    November 28th, 2011 at 15:23

  9. Bluenight says:

    Dixon of Dock Green was a spin off from the film ‘The Blue Lamp’ in which Jack Warner’s character was shot and killed. He was reborn as Dixon of Dock green

    November 28th, 2011 at 19:52

  10. Plodnomore says:

    The ultra liberal grow your own sandals are making their usual noises ONLY because they have not been personally involved. In the 70′s there was Sir Robin Day, a viciferous voice against any form form of corporal punishment (and lobbied for years against capital punishment). One night, on his way home from the BBc studios, where he had been slagging off the Police and pro-hanging groups, he was mugged and his jaw was broken. In the London Evening News (now defunct) the headline was “When he was able to speak, he said, @I hoipe they hang the bastards!’” More recently, a very liberal magistrates who spent many of her officla hours castigating the Police for being over officious, was burgled and a painting which was over 400 years old and had been in her family for generations, was damaged because the burglars were unable to remove it from its bracket affixed to the wall. When it was pointed out to her she said, “Give me the buggers who did this a very blunt knife!” LKet’s put the head of Amnesty International or Doocey in a position like that and I guarantee they would change their minds. Of course it will never happen because they live completley out of touch of the ‘common’ people.

    November 28th, 2011 at 20:42

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