A member of the public when calling the police to an incident in which they require the police will just be grateful Ine turned up! Whether that officer is armed or not is incidental! Those who have travelled around Europe or America will have seen that all police officers are armed does it make them feel unsafe Im certain it doesn't it fact the reverse would be the case! So in essence if an armed officer is the closest to the scene of an incident and are able to deal then deal; knowing that should your expertise be required elsewhere then that's where you go but will be rare as thankfully many county areas don't suffer prolific Gun Crime! Will we one day be a fully armed service ( as a lead campaigner on arming of the British Police for past 22yrs ) yes it really will now be sooner than later! If ISIS or any other group kill an officer or a number of officers in an attack in the UK many officer will Im certain state that it's now the time they need to be armed. It will be the need in most cases rather than the want a chance to Protect the public their colleagues and themselves! All officer should be issued with a TASER and BODY CAMERA. This will give officer chance to deal with many Violent Threatening situations especially when alone in shires where back up is a long way away! Will act as a deterrent and the CAMERA will give investigators or a Court the vision that the officer he/she had so can see why a course of action was taken in the given circumstances! Will Police who carry guns up the anti Who knows probably not those who say it wall... Where's your evidence yours is just a guess as is mine but for 36yrs I've dealt with Law and Order and predicted Crime Patterns!!
As a retired 30 yr 'Shire' PC, I would certainly advocate armed Officers being used for mundane tasks if they are the closest. The Public are going to have to get used to it, it will not be too long before every Officer is armed. The are many countries, I now live in one of them (Colombia) where Officers are routinely armed, and the public just accept it as part of everyday life, I pass them all the time, and don't give it a second thought.
Times are changing fast, and whether we like it or not, having armed Policemen in your Living room, when you report a stolen bike, is going to become commonplace.
If police vehicles are equipped with equipment to suit different needs, does an officer need to carry a firearm to an incident that does not require it? A police vehicle may carry road traffic control measures such as traffic cones - the officers don't take them everywhere on the off chance they might be needed. With appropriate security measures, firearms can be readily available in the vehicle if needed. Routine carrying of arms changes the environment. To answer Chaos's comment regarding his readership - I'm not part of or close to the police 'family'. I don't want armed police turning up at the local supermarket because of petty theft or at a school because of misbehaviour. Government and associated agencies constantly refer to an intelligence led strategy - I'm all in favour of it - if the circumstances indicate the need, police intervention including handguns and heavy armament if necessary is ok. If the presence if firearms becomes routine we will all adopt different attitudes and behaviours and these will not be positive.
If I have need to call the police, it is irrelevant whether an officer is armed or not, all I care about is that the officer is able to help in whatever situation has arisen which has required me to call for help & to arrive in the shortest possible time. Gun or no gun, all that matters is that they are able to carry out their duty.
Your warrant card states you are a police officer. That is your job. I don't care what your rank is or if you're armed. If you're the closest unit, you should deal. If an AFO is then required elsewhere, the situation will be reviewed. There's too few resources left to have the luxury of picking & choosing what you deal with. As an ex dispatcher, the frustration of knowing I had officers I couldn't send to a job, as it wasn't NPT or Response related, is untold!
I could write pages and pages on why the policy of allowing ARV officers to attend incidents that are not ostensibly 'firearms incidents' is entirely appropriate and indeed an example of good management, but I will simply refer to the comments made by Sue C. (above). She actually 'hits the nail firmly and squarely on the head' as far as the sensible deployment of resources is concerned. Bear in mind that the present Government has reduced the number of Police Officers in England and Wales by 17K since 2010 and the suggestion is that if re-elected we can expect another 20K reduction. The 'Crime has reduced' argument to justify such savagery is massively flawed. Police have never ever just dealt with 'Crime'and the politicians are lying to you by suggesting that the demand on the Police Service has fallen. It has not! Of course we should use all available resources. I simply do not believe that the Public are in some way 'disturbed' at the notion of armed officers dealing with their issue, whatever it may be. I will also,respectfully, disagree with Sue on the 'Thin end of the wedge' argument. we are light years away from a fully armed Police Service in this country. (Chief Superintendent- Herts. constabulary 1974 to 2004)
Firstly, armed officers are police officers first and foremost. If they are the closest resource to an incident, they should attend in the first instance.
Secondly, these officers are highly selected and trained to carry out their armed role and trust should be placed in them to make clear judgements at any incidents. They should not be barred from attending certain types.
Thirdly, politicians (that's what PCC's are folks) should not be involved in operational policing matters/decisions. Unfortunately, members of the public are not really well placed to make these decisions either.
Finally, the threat of terrorism, spontaneous firearms incidents and threats to life mean that armed officers (who make up only 3% of your police service by the way - that's around 7000 nationwide - Paris deployed 80000 to protect their citizens in the recent terrorist attacks for comparison.) should be able to take immediate positive action where required, thus requiring their sidearms to be about their person when on duty.
Honestly, altho I said "No" to the poll question, I can see the value of using resources in the most efficient manner, so it seems pretty obvious that if an armed officer is the only one able to go to the scene, he or she should go. Mine is the "thin edge of the wedge" argument. I'm concerned that allowing the police force--and the public--to get accustomed to seeing armed officers will gradually erode everyone's determination to retain an unarmed force.