Friday, September 14, 2007

A little bit more like the movies...

In a scene reminiscent of a Dirty Harry or Beverley Hills Cop film police shot dead two would-be bank robbers yesterday as they attempted to hold up a security van outside an HSBC bank in Chandlers Ford (pronounced Ch-aar-ndlersFord).

And it makes the news headlines all over this country for police officers do not shoot people, not even bank robbers, very often at all here and we express mock shock and indignation when it happens.

We also, as a matter of course, suspend the armed officers involved from duty, even the ones who didn't fire a shot, until an independant police investigation team can satisfy itself that no prosecution of the officers involved should take place, no correct that, they prepare a file and the Crown Prosecution Service make the decision.

And of course the point deserves to be made to those not of this country that our "normal" police officers are not armed with anything more lethal than a stick and a gas cannister and that the armed officers involved yesterday would be part of a small and elite squad who have had rigorous and extensive training in the art of shooting bad people - we train them as hard and as long as we can, then repeat every month, and when they have to do the job that we have trained them long and hard for we suspend them under threat of criminal charges and often, even if no charges result, remove them from armed duty and put them back on "normal duties".

A close friend of mine is a serving police officer, in fact two of my brother-in-law's are police officers, the friend (and I think the in-laws too) have served in the armed section, its a sort of prestigious branch of your local bobby shop, and he resigned from it after a year in which he was constantly assessed, both mentally and physically and a year in which, when issued with his firearm each shift, he was expected to stand in front of similarly armed maniacs and ask them nicely to lay down their arms twice before shooting them, preferably in the body (no gung-ho Dirty Harry shoulder shots in real life) and then hope that his single shot would miss any vital body parts and that the villian would survive, indeed the police in yesterdays bank raid spent half an hour trying to resucitate one of the shot bank robbers.

The pressure of the job was perpetual and intense and he left that squad to be a police dog handler where if your dog attacks a villian everyone sings your praises and no-one from the Police Complaints Commission comes to interview you and advise that you should have a solicitor present.


And in other news, and by way of a complete contrast to bad guys, today is the funeral of Jane Tomlinson, good guy hero of this city, and befitting her status the funeral is to be held in the city's catholic cathedral, closing most of the roads in that area, and quite remarkably such is the expected crowd that the big screens in Leeds' Millenium Square and Bradford's Centenary Square will be relaying the funeral service - 'tis a sad day.


Jeff said...

Sounds like a bit of cya gone too far eh?

But hey - I can't say I would complain if my company gave me a vacation every time I did my job properly.

DJ Kirkby said...

Blimey you've got a lot going on at your end of the Country! Feeling for those policemen! And for Jane T's family, also for Jane, all she ever really wanted was to see her children grow into adults...not a lot to ask really.

Gary said...

jeff - 'tis the way the law works in this country, you order officers to shoot armed perpetrators then you suspend them for following orders - no-one really understands why.

DJ Kirby - The funeral was covered for three hours yesterday on local radio and given the way she has influenced so many to fight cancer and to fund raise for research then no-one seems to think that it was overkill.

Two of her daughters are what you'd loosely call "grown-up", at college etc, and one of them presented her with a grand-daughter just this year, she leaves a ten year old son though.