Perhaps that aversion is particularly strong in people of my generation because we have seen police used as political weapons by Conservative governments, in situations where they have put down protest against the Tories (and also perfectly peaceful events that merely offended Tory sensibilities) in the most brutal manner.
Do we really want to put guns in police hands and then let them do the bidding of the current Conservative Government – which is more dedicated to the restriction of our rights as citizens than any in living memory?
I fear the possibility of terrorist attacks on UK soil will be used as a means of instilling terror in the population.
Yet the possibility of terrorist attack remains.
Logic suggests that the armed forces could be deployed against terrorists on home soil. It was the policy in Northern Ireland and, while some could argue the circumstances were different, this argument mitigates more in favour of using the forces in the current situation.
Does anyone have better alternatives?
Britain’s regional cities are highly vulnerable to Paris-style terror attacks because they lack the 24/7 armed police cover given to London, the home secretary has been warned by police chiefs co-ordinating counter-terrorism.
Officers at Scotland Yard have briefed Theresa May that “dedicated armed assets” outside the capital are sparse. An exercise carried out by the National Counter-Terrorism Command aimed at examining how the UK’s police would respond to a simultaneous attack on London, Birmingham and a smaller provincial city has further highlighted the perils. A Scotland Yard source said: “Ask a regional force how long it would take them to respond to a terror attack and watch them squirm.”
The revelation comes in the wake of reports that the mastermind of the Paris terror attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, visited the UK on a false passport. It was reported he may have been in Kent before meeting fellow extremists in London. It was earlier reported that he had photographs of Birmingham landmarks on his phone and that he had called numbers belonging to Moroccans there.
Seven terror plots in the UK have been foiled in the past six months alone; the current threat level is “severe”. Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham said: “It is essential that all our major cities have 24/7 protection from attack. If this is true, it suggests there are worrying gaps in our ability to respond.”
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