Police across the United Kingdom have reacted with a mixture of sorrow, anger and a huge degree of foreboding to events in Dallas, Nice, Baton Rouge and Munich. As each of these tragedies unfolded and as word reaches them of further incidents such as those at Wurzburg, Ansbach and now Saint-Etienne-Du-Rouvray, they will be asking themselves: 'What if.'
Explain why, Home Secretary, that when you make your constant references to police transgressions, you don't balance this by referring to the fact that the number of officers involved are but an infinitesimal speck when set against the tens of thousands of officers who have served or are serving since the 1980s?
In London the simple fact is that the armed police 'jam' does not cover the slice of bread that is one of the world's major cities and does not even begin to lightly smear much of the loaf that is the UK. Meanwhile, the increase announced by the government in the numbers of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ officers together with increased funding is a bittersweet pill for struggling police officers on the front line to swallow...
The Times and Telegraph both spookily comment on the 'Americanisation' of our traditional way of policing, and I'm sorry, but that's just plain daft. In perspective there are a mere handful of armed response crews out and about on patrol in the UK, and this bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to any US policing model.
The argument trotted out by the supporters of the British model is that the British police are unique in the world because of its origin in British history, that they exist because of the 'will of the people', that they are the 'best in the world', that this is shown by the affection that the people have for them and that this is seen in the absence of weapons.
If we sent out thousands of Officers with firearms more of them would be put in situations where they have to decide to use them or not - late at night when they are tired when something in some ones hand might be a gun or might not be. This would surely lead to more people being shot even with the bets of training!