When I was young, the local policeman (bobby / copper) was someone to depend on. He was normally friendly and helpful. There was the old saying: ‘If you want to know the time, ask a policeman.’ He carried only a whistle (later radio) and a truncheon. A truncheon is a round piece of hard wood, about 40 cm long, formed so that the user could hold it in his hand. This simple weapon was normally kept hidden, in a special pocket, on the outside of the policeman’s trousers.
Now, a copper wears a belt, with various bits and pieces – but no fire arms.
Times have changed. Cuts, cuts, cuts. All we hear today is how public services are being financially cut back, in order to pay off the national debt. One of the more disturbing of these, for many people, is police financing. Every day, we hear or read about the crimes which are being committed up and down the country. Each new minister who, in the government is responsible, informs us that under his control, the police will become more efficient. Perhaps. It is true, that the 2010 percentage rate of crime, fell by 7%. Well, those are the statistics. Could they be improved?
Suppose British police were armed, as they are in most other countries. Would it make a difference? Would police, wearing guns, reduce or increase crime in the British Isles?
On the other hand, if British police don’t need to carry weapons, do the police in other countries need to? Could you imagine the police in your country without guns? What would the man in the street think about it? After all, if it can operate in the UK, why not in Germany, Italy or France for example? Of course, we mustn’t ignore history. Modern UK has only one, now, foreign country border, and that is the Irish Republic. That wasn’t always the situation, and despite recent terrorism in Ireland, no Brit could imagine a war with that country.
I remember, a few years ago, when the general police were asked if they wanted to be armed. They replied with an emphatic ‘No’. Naturally, the British police have weapons available, in case of emergency. These are kept under lock and key in police stations. And only policemen with extra training are allowed to use them. Otherwise, we may see armed police at airports; but the average policeman has no fire arms. I often ask myself, when I see a policeman in the street, if he would be more effective if he were armed. And in the same breath, I ask myself how life in your country would be if your police were not armed.
I don’t expect answers, – only opinions. What’s yours?
Fire arms: guns.
Debt: if I borrow money from someone, then I have a debt to that person.
Disturbing: if something is disturbing, it makes me anxious.
Armed: someone is armed if they are carrying a gun.
Weapons: objects such as guns and knives which can be used to hurt other people.
Border: in this context the line dividing two countries.