Sir Hugh Orde: 'Police should not be armed'

Armed officer An armed police officer at the scene of Tuesday's shooting in Hattersley

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, has ruled out arming officers after the killing of two women constables.

PC Fiona Bone, 32, and PC Nicola Hughes, 23, died after apparently being lured to a bogus burglary at a house in Greater Manchester on Tuesday.

A man, Dale Cregan, handed himself into police shortly afterwards.

Sir Hugh said: "Guns don't necessarily solve the problem. You only have to look to the American experience.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Many colleagues in America are lost without even drawing their gun at close ranges. I can't describe this particular case in detail but the reality is, the clear view of the British police service from top to bottom is we don't want to be armed.

"One of the learning points in Northern Ireland - I had an armed service - was it distances us from communities. They don't like approaching officers with guns," he added.

But Ash Rathband, whose father David was shot and blinded by Newcastle gunman Raoul Moat, tweeted after the Hattersley incident: "It's time for police to be armed in my opinion. Yet again another awful incident."

POLICE DEATHS IN UK

  • 256 police officers have been shot and killed in the UK since 1945 and 21 have been stabbed to death.
  • In England 51 were shot and 19 stabbed
  • In Wales - none
  • In Scotland - four shot and two stabbed
  • In Northern Ireland - 201 shot
  • Source - National Police Memorial Day

His comments were echoed, again on Twitter, by his uncle Darren: "Give them more than a bloody piece of plastic and some spray. Tragic!"

The widower of a police officer shot dead in Bradford in 2005 also added his voice to the chorus calling for the routine arming of officers.

Paul Beshenivsky, whose wife Sharon was killed during a bungled robbery at a travel agency, told ITV News: "You wouldn't think it'd happen again, but it has."

He said: "I think police, in honesty, should be armed, walking into situations that they're not totally aware of. You can't have armed response at every situation, but I think, as an officer being armed... feeling more comfortable, walking into that situation, thinking, 'I could respond...'."

Andy Hill, a senior lecturer in policing and criminal justice and a former sergeant with Thames Valley Police, said: "I'm totally against the routine arming of officers.

"We've got fantastically highly trained firearms officers, I mean we can almost name the officers who have lost their lives to firearms in the last 20 to 30 years. It is tragic, it is unforgivable but it's rare, thank goodness."

Film director Michael Winner, founder of the Police Memorial Trust, has also called for officers to be routinely armed but Greater Manchester Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy is against it.

He said: "We are passionate that the British style of policing is routinely unarmed policing. Sadly, we know from the experience in America and other countries that having armed officers certainly does not mean... that police officers do not end up getting shot."

Mr Fahy's point was underlined last month in LaPlace, Louisiana, when two sheriff's deputies - both armed - were shot dead at a trailer park.

Two other sheriff's deputies were also injured in the incident.

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