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Marcus Middleton Headshot

Please, Arm Your Police

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As a child I asked my mother on trip to London, why it was your Police did not carry guns?

Whether this is right or wrong, I will never forget her answer. She told me that the English did not want to encourage their criminals to carry firearms, so they hoped, if Police did not carry guns, the criminals wouldn't see the need to either.

Well, I have news for you, now, times have changed and the criminals are carrying guns anyway.

Knowing this, how can you seriously expect the brave men and women of your Police Forces to try and protect all of your citizens without them?

I think it comes down to a matter of choice really. Criminals are already carrying guns anyway, so what would you prefer?

Do you want just the career and organised criminals, people who have no regard or respect for the law, people who are violent, unpredictable, unstable, and will do anything not to get caught carrying guns...

Or would you prefer the Police, a group of trained professionals who are responsible and accountable for their actions, people who don't want to carry firearms, carrying them as well?

To me, the choice is a simple one.

When the Police kill or wound any criminal in my native Australia, they hold a thorough and ferocious investigation to make sure that Police Officer did everything in their power to resolve the matter without drawing their firearm. They are held fully accountable under the law.

They are held to the highest standards and this is the way it should be.

Police are hesitant to shoot anyone; however when protecting the public in the modern age, there comes a time, when Police face a life threatening situation and they have to choose whether to shoot, or be shot themselves.

In these cases, while it is unfortunate, sad and even tragic that a human being has been shot, the truth is, they were shot by a member of the constabulary who, deemed they had no other alternative to protect themselves and the public.

While this is unfortunate, and it is not uncommon for a Police Officer to leave the service after a shooting incident, facing years of trauma counselling- This outcome is nowhere near as horrific and heartbreaking as reading that a member of the Police Force has been killed.

Police Forces around the world are over stretched, overworked and under paid. My praise and admiration for Police could not be greater, they never tire, they never quit, and they deserve more than the low pay they receive and the meagre thanks they get.

Which is why it so unconscionable for any society in this day and age to expect to send their police out to protect them, without the proper training and resources the police need to first, protect themselves.

I cannot think what would have happened differently if those brave, dutiful women were armed. Would they be here today? Would their superior training, skills, and instincts protect them against a paranoid, ill disciplined thug who set them up and led them to their deaths?

Thirty-two and twenty-three years old.

Today, the media should be calling the Manchester Police to task for two constables shooting an armed criminal and the community should be demanding an official investigation to find if the police were within their rights to fire on a citizen.

Today, Journalists and the community should be prosecuting these Police Constables, not mourning them.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, as well as their brothers and sisters of the Greater Manchester Police.

However it pains me, because as an Australian, I sit here reading about this horrible crime and can't stop myself asking, why are your Police not armed?

Despite the close ties of our countries and many of our traditions and practices being born from your own, it has always been practical for our police to be armed.

In those wild colonial days of early settlement, this was a rough country, with even rougher people.

Bushrangers roaming the land would shoot a constable on site, so the constable's needed to be able to fight back.

Now, in England, the time has come where your Police need to fight back also.

The twentieth century saw restriction, after restriction placed on the ownership and use of Firearms here in Australia. While handguns were banned in Australian States, it was not until after the Port Arthur Massacre of 1996, when a lone gunman armed with automatic weapons, murdered 35 people and wounded 23 that the Conservative Howard Government virtually eradicated private gun ownership, making it illegal to own all automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.

Outside Police and Military, this left virtually only registered Collectors, Hunters, Sporting Shooters and Farmers as only people with legitimate reasons to own firearms, this and a national database, made gun ownership for criminal means practically impossible.

If you thought this would have solved Australia's gun problems, you were wrong.

So far this year, 15 years after those concrete laws came into effect, the city I live in, Sydney, has experienced more than 100 instances of gun violence and attacks, this includes three deaths. That is not Australia in total... That is just one City! And there is still three months of the year to go!

In just one raid in March, Sydney Police blew open a smuggling operation that had seen more than 220 illegal firearms flood into the country from Germany.

If so many firearms are making their way half way around the world and over vast oceans into Australia so easily, I would hate to think, where it is as easy as driving through a tunnel, just how many illegal firearms there are in the United Kingdom?

I am too young and too far away to know the real reason why your police do not carry guns.

However, if my mother was right, then I would argue that "the horse has bolted".

Despite all the arguments against police carrying guns... If carrying guns deters just one incident in the future like the one that has claimed the lives of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes. Then I would argue that alone outweighs everything else.