It is time to arm all our po­lice of­fi­cers

The Oban Times - - Letters -

Sir, I re­fer to Martin Laing’s At Ran­dom col­umn ( The Oban Times, June 15) re­gard­ing ter­ror­ism and the po­lice re­sponse ca­pa­bil­ity in our area.

I feel we have reached a point in time where we must rou­tinely arm all po­lice of­fi­cers. Yes, the risk is that great. They must have firearms avail­able to pro­tect them­selves and the pub­lic.

Spe­cial­ist units are too far dis­tant in many ru­ral ar­eas of the UK and prob­a­bly more so in Scot­land. An im­me­di­ate and ruth­less re­sponse is nec­es­sary to counter any po­ten­tial or real ter­ror­ist threat. I agree the eight-minute re­sponse time in Lon­don proves the point that lives must have been saved.

It is time for the politi­cians to stop sit­ting on the fence and grasp the net­tle. The time for be­ing po­lit­i­cally cor­rect and tol­er­ant is long past and the pub­lic de­mands ac­tion now.

The po­lice, se­cu­rity, emer­gency and in­tel­li­gence ser­vices do a fan­tas­tic job in this coun­try and the pub­lic should ap­pre­ci­ate this. How­ever, we need to up our game and move to a much higher level of pre­pared­ness to counter the po­ten­tial or real threat from th­ese odi­ous crea­tures.

Per­haps an even more con­tro­ver­sial op­tion which should be con­sid­ered is the grant­ing of pow­ers by cen­tral gov­ern­ment al­low­ing the po­lice to re­cruit and form lo­cally-based vol­un­teer mili­tia units, trained in the use of firearms and de­ployed in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions un­der the con­trol of the po­lice or army.

The ter­ror­ist is among us, es­pe­cially in the large UK cities, but, with­out ap­pear­ing to be alarmist, we must al­ways be watch­ful and avoid com­pla­cency on our patch.

The ter­ror­ist is a despotic de­gen­er­ate crea­ture who should be treated ac­cord­ingly. ‘When you have to fight a beast, you must treat it as a beast’ in the words of US Pres­i­dent Harry Tru­man in the last year of the Sec­ond World War in the Pa­cific.

Let us hope the politi­cians can raise their game to meet the chal­lenge. Robert MacCal­lum, by email.

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