Low Use of Firearms by British Police — Long May it Continue

 

‘What can US trigger-happy cops learn from Britain’s gunless police?’ — The Independent, June 2015

American police kill the same number of people with guns in a day that UK officers do in a year. Griff Witte, an American Washington Post reporter working in London, reports…

In a country where the vast majority of police officers patrol with batons and pepper spray, the elite cadre of British cops who are entrusted with guns almost never use them. Police in Britain have fatally shot two people in the past three years.

That’s less than the average number of people shot and killed by police every day in the United States over the first five months of 2015, according to a Washington Post analysis.

As the United States reckons with that toll — and with the constant drip of videos showing the questionable use of force by officers — lightly armed Britain might seem an unorthodox place to look for solutions. But experts say the way British bobbies are trained, commanded and vigorously scrutinized may offer US police forces a useful blueprint for bringing down the rate of deadly violence and defusing some of the burning tension felt in cities from coast to coast… (Read the full article.)

 

An August 2014 article, from PRI

In 2012, 409 people were shot and killed by American police in what were termed justifiable shootings. In that same year, British police officers fired their weapons just once. No one was killed.

In 2013, British police officers fired their weapons all of three times. No one died.  According to The Economist, “British citizens are around 100 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans. Between 2010 and 2014, the police force of one small American city — Albuquerque in New Mexico — shot and killed 23 civilians; seven times more than the number of Brits killed by all of England and Wales’s police 43 forces during the same period….  (Read the full article.)

 

An August 2014 article — ‘Trigger Happy’ — from The Economist

Civilians — innocent or guilty — are far more likely to be shot by police in America than in any other rich country.  In 2012, according to data compiled by the FBI, 410 Americans were “justifiably” killed by police—409 with guns. That figure may well be an underestimate. Not only is it limited to the number of people who were shot while committing a crime, but also, amazingly, reporting the data is voluntary…

[In Britain], the last time a British police officer was killed by a firearm on duty was in 2012, in a brutal case in Manchester. The annual number of murders by shooting is typically less than 50… In America, by contrast, it is hardly surprising that cops resort to their weapons more frequently. In 2013, 30 cops were shot and killed—just a fraction of the 9,000 or so murders using guns that happen each year. Add to that a hyper-militarised police culture and a deep history of racial strife and you have the reason why so many civilians are shot by police officers. Unless America can either reduce its colossal gun ownership rates or fix its deep social problems, shootings of civilians by police—justified or not—seem sure to continue…  (Read the full article.)

 

 

A 2015 interview with Cumbria’s Chief Constable about Police cuts – and it’s sadly worth re-watching

Back in 2015, Cumbria’s Chief Constable Jerry Graham spoke out against proposals for further cuts which would leave policing in Cumbria “unrecognisable”.

The article in 2015 continued:  If these cuts were to be finalised Cumbria would lose the highest proportion of our budget out of all the forces in England and Wales.

The cuts would mean the end of policing in Cumbria as we know it, and would result in “serious degrading of policing for the county”.

In this video he outlines his concerns, and asks the public if they value their police service to do something about it by joining in the conversation on social media at #PolicingCumbria

Details on budget figures and a quote from the Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes can be found here: http://www.cumbria-pcc.gov.uk/news/police-funding.aspx

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The above post was forwarded to me recently by my friend and former police colleague, Cliff Heaney, who very understandably asks: What next?

The situation, in terms of future law and order on the streets and in the countryside of England and Wales, cannot be good.

Steve Shearwater,

1 June 2017

‘Blue’ – a police memoir by John Sutherland, hits No.4 in Sunday Times book rankings

A newly-published book about the Metropolitan Police has hit fourth position in the Sunday Times book rankings!

Police officers from around the country attended the London launch of Blue: A Memoir this week – a new book outlining the highs and lows of being a British Bobby.

The book by Ch Supt John Sutherland – Twitter’s @policecommander – focusses on the positive work of his Met Police colleagues during a 25-year career but also on how policing can take its toll, including its difficult to read pages on John suffering from depression.

The strapline for the book is “Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces.”

Speaking at the event, John said the idea for the book came from the imbalance of predominantly negative reporting about policing in the media.

He said: “For the past 25 years, I have had the privilege of doing a job I love – alongside people I truly admire.

“In its way, this book is a love letter to each one of them: my family, my city and the women and men of the police force.

“Blue tells some of their stories – some of our stories – and in doing so, tries to provide some balance to the wider story being told about policing in this country.

“But it is also a very personal story of the toll that life and policing can take. Four years ago, whilst serving as the Borough Commander for Southwark in South London, I broke. I’m still mending.”

The book features large chunks on John’s rise through the ranks, his time as a hostage negotiator, as a borough commander and has a real focus on the scourge of knife crime in the capital.

Both the speech and book resonated well with the audience in attendance at the launch in London – which also included a number of John’s friends and family.

Also there were the Kinsella family. Ben Kinsella was killed in a stabbing incident in Islington in 2008 – and John has remained in touch with them.

‘Blue: A Memoir’ went on sale on Thursday 25 May.

View on Police Oracle

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As a closing note, I will add my own congratulations to Chief Superintendent John Sutherland, who is on Twitter @policecommander

Steve Shearwater