After suffering through five terrorist attacks in 2017, there appears to finally be growing sentiment in the UK to begin arming more police officers with firearms. It turns out that the notorious politeness of the British “Bobbies” is not a sufficient response to groups of machete-wielding terrorists who are ready to die while taking out as many unarmed civilians as possible. We’ll have to wait and see whether that growing sentiment, however, turns into action.
London’s unarmed police are a concept that dates back almost 200 years and it has worked for the Brits for the most part, until now. The Metropolitan Police Service was founded in 1829 on the idea of “policing by consent” instead of by force. Today less than one in ten officers in London carry a firearm on duty. A cop has to receive training in London to become an Authorized Firearms Officer and historically, very few have done so. Most police in Britain are armed with pepper spray or mace, a set of handcuffs, a baton and occasionally a Taser.
The June 2017 terrorist attack in London was truly an eye-opener for the British people. They realized on that evening that the police cannot protect them if they’re not carrying guns.
A witness reported to The Guardian, “They (the terrorists) were stabbing people. The police were running away, they were community police. They were normal officers, they were running away.”
It took more than eight minutes for a team of Authorized Firearms Officers to arrive on the scene. During those eight agonizing minutes for the British civilians, three knife-wielding terrorists killed seven people and wounded 48 others. When the armed cops did finally arrive, they fired more than 50 shots (wounding one civilian accidentally) and took out the three terrorists in less than five seconds.
Everyone in London should have been asking some serious questions: How many lives would have been saved if the police who were there when the attack started had been armed? And how many stabbings would have been prevented if the police had not run away?
Fortunately, some high-profile Brits are now asking those questions. The Wall Street Journal reports that Nigel Farage, the popular former leader of the U.K. Independence Party, has been using his radio program to stump for more armed police officers on the streets. Col. Richard Kemp of the U.K. Joint Intelligence Committee stated the obvious: “We also need to have every cop in this country armed, which gives us a greater chance of having an immediate response.”
This is a monumental shift in thinking for the British people. Policing by consent with unarmed officers worked effectively for most of the U.K.’s history. But the politically incorrect truth is that the Metropolitan Police Service is no longer policing just the Brits.
The European Union’s open-borders policy between member nations has led to a massive influx from the Muslim world in recent years. With that influx, the U.K. has imported an unknown number of terrorists and terrorist-sympathizing individuals from the Middle East and North Africa. The British government’s refusal to deport some of the most extreme imams preaching in the mosques has also led to a number of “home-grown” (although still foreign by birth) terrorists.
The long-standing British policy of “policing by consent” does not even phase these immigrants and refugees from the Muslim world. Until the British people come to grips with this fact and comes up with policies to address it, the outcome is sadly predictable. More civilians will die until more police are allowed to carry firearms.
A British soccer hooligan who gets a little rowdy when his team loses is an entirely different situation for police to deal with than an Islamic State fighter. British cops are accustomed to talking to British suspects until they politely surrender and everyone politely goes back to the police station. A non-British terrorist could care less about policing by consent. He’ll keep stabbing civilians until someone puts him down.
If the British government makes the wrong choice and continues to try to police foreign threats with unarmed cops, it could eventually have a revolt on its hands. The spark of individual liberty — and with it, the liberty to defend one’s own life with a firearm — could take hold in the hearts of the British people. After all, it happened once before in 1776.
~ American Gun News