During Saturday night’s terror attack in London, British police found themselves confronting three men armed with knives and hellbent on killing as many people as possible.
Unfortunately for several British police officers and the citizens they were supposed to protect, they were unable to do anything because they were not carrying firearms, according to reports from The Guardian.
The majority of British police officers aren’t armed, except for a baton and maybe a taser, which makes confronting terrorists armed with knives something of a problem.
“I saw two guys with big knives downstairs outside Roast,” a chef from a restaurant near the site of the attack told The Guardian. “They were stabbing people. The police were running away, they were community police. They were normal officers, they were running away.”
“The guy with the knife was killing two people. We were shouting ‘stop, stop’ and people threw chairs at them. Police came and shot straight away,” he explained.
While it is impossible to verify this report of officers running away, it is deeply disturbing. The police who first responded were potentially unable to do their job because they didn’t have anything to use to effectively confront the terrorists.
While armed British police did arrive on scene and shoot all three terrorists dead within eight minutes of the attack’s start, that was still eight minutes that allowed the terrorists to kill seven people and injure dozens more.
The U.K. Independent noted that one police officer attempted to take on all three terrorists by himself, but was seriously wounded during the fight.
This entire incident could have been over much quicker if the officers on the scene initially had been able to effectively take on the terrorists.
In America, officers who respond to any call are always armed, which at least gives them a fighting chance to stop a situation from spiraling out of control while they potentially wait for backup if it’s needed.
Sky News noted that support for arming all police officers is actually fairly high in Britain. According to a Sky News poll, a whopping 72 percent of those surveyed said police should be “routinely” armed.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 6, 2017
It is possible that this terror attack may finally spur the British government to pass legation allowing all, or at least a vast majority, of police officers to be armed while on duty.
While it certainly is ideal to think that you could live in a society where police don’t need to be armed, the reality of the 21st century is that in order to protect the public from this threat of terrorism, police must have the tools necessary to do their job.
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