East Lancashire police reject calls to arm officers following Manchester murder (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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East Lancashire police reject calls to arm officers following Manchester murder
OFFICERS in East Lancashire do not support the call to routinely arm frontline police, despite the murder of two policewomen in Manchester.
Greater Manchester officers PC Fiona Bone, 32, and PC Nicola Hughes, 23, were killed while responding to a routine call about a burglary.
As the pair walked into an ambush, they were showered with bullets and a grenade.
The killings have sparked a national debate over whether serving police officers should now be armed.
Lancashire Police Federation chairman Rachel Baines said: “In Lancashire we do not support the idea of routinely arming police officers.
“I do not believe that arming those two female police officers in Manchester would have saved their lives.
“The whole police community is in absolutely shock at the completely incompreh-ensible events of the last few days.
“I am sure every frontline officer has felt more vulner-able in the last few days, but when we sign up to be a police officer, we regularly put our lives on the line as part of the job.”
Retired Accrington Detective Inspector Jim Oldcorn, 69, agrees police should conc- entrate on keeping as many guns off the streets as poss-ible.
He said: “As far as I am concerned, if you are waving a gun around, then you are more likely to be shot at.
“What most people forget is that each police force has a dedicated firearms unit they are able to call upon at any time.
“I served 34 years with the police before I retired in 1997 and, as far as I am concerned, if the firearms department were looking for volunteers, I would be at the back of the queue.
“During my service I worked in the drugs squad in Ashton-under-Lyne and Oldham.
“In my experience, firearm incidents are very few and far between.
“We don’t want to end up with a gun culture like America, or Eastern Europe.
“When you join as a police officer, the first thing you are taught is that you are a civilian who has been given authority by the community to protect, and serve, the public.
“In my view, carrying any sort of firearm would put a barrier between the police and the community it is protecting.”
Last night 29-year-old Dale Cregan was charged with the murders of PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone and father and son David and Mark Short.