Will the police use live rounds during riots?

gibbsy

Moderator
The police now have the legal powers to use water cannon, rubber bullets and, more controversionally, live rounds in any serious riots in mainland UK. They can shoot at those people who perform acts of arson where they may be a real danger of loss of life, ie, occupied flats above shops. They can also use live rounds to protect firefighers and paramedics.

Will this just inflame the situation should there be more riots in English cities this coming year. Water cannon and rubber bullets have done little to stop the riots in Northern Ireland, although they are nowhere near the levels seen during 'the troubles'. The use of live rounds did not stop major riots in US cities by disaffected peoples.

Should we be worried by this development? Or should we embrace it as just another defence against those at the bottom of the growing gap against the haves and have nots?
 
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johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
Should we be worried by this development?

Yes. At the moment, rioters are criminals. I know, you know it, they know it. Shoot one and then there will be those who think they have a martyr.
So shooting is out. Baton rounds have a nasty habit of taking out the wrong people. Water cannon? Why not!
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
Should we be worried by this development?
No we shouldn't be worried at all. The Police - or any other agency/Force - is bound by UK law which requires the use of force to be proportional. Lethal force - and shooting is always regarded as lethal - would only be used to save lives or, in extreme cases, save property that would otherwise endanger life. Furthermore all shooting incidents by the Police are investigated and, where there has been a breach of the law, people are prosecuted.

Bottomline is if people do not threaten others with death by indirect or direct means then they won't get shot.
 

BISHI

Well-known Member
I think the quick efficiency of the law courts fed by thousands of hours cctv footage will mean that we won't be seeing any repetition of the summers disaffection. What you are going to be seing in the next few years is a steady rise in crimes like burglary, petty theft, mugging and an increase in demand for stolen goods. No plastic bullets or water cannons needed there..!
 

phil t

Well-known Member
Furthermore all shooting incidents by the Police are investigated and, where there has been a breach of the law, people are prosecuted.

I feel sorry for anyone who has to carry firearms. They have their rules of engagement (whatever the police call them), but they have to make a split second judgement that a court will then analyse for hours, if not days. If any round is deemed illegal, then a prison sentence is a very real possibility.
 

pandemic

Well-known Member
I can't see live firearms being used unless it's an absolute last resort. Take into account that these laws are a direct result of the riots in summer, many of the rioters where under 18 i.e. classed as "not of legal age" in the UK (except Scotland where it's under 16). It wouldn't go down too well if in such a crowd a 10 year old got shot. Also the pictures would be beamed across the planet and we wouldn't look too good if we were found to have used arms on minors. The international community 'hates' that sort of stuff, hence the amount of criticism placed on the US for having so many minors on death row.
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
I'd just like to point out that shooting someone who is threatening the lives of the public or anyone else has always been quite legal anyway. What's changed is that someone's actually put it forward as a viable tactic during public order situations along with water cannon and baton rounds.

For what it's worth we are incredibly nice in this country to rioters, no tear gas, no water cannon, no baton rounds and no firearms officers. Just a few thin lines of brave bobbies hoping that the rioters don't realise how outnumbered the police are.

I'd be amazed if firearms are ever deployed in a riot situation let alone used, everyone wants the police to sort out the rioters but when they do there are always huge sections of society that lambaste the police for using excessive force.

You can't have it both ways I'm afraid, the police either sit back, take the missiles and petrol bombs and hope the rioters get bored and go home or the police go in there and bloody well stop them.
 

stanga

Active Member
I'd just like to point out that shooting someone who is threatening the lives of the public or anyone else has always been quite legal anyway. What's changed is that someone's actually put it forward as a viable tactic during public order situations along with water cannon and baton rounds.

For what it's worth we are incredibly nice in this country to rioters, no tear gas, no water cannon, no baton rounds and no firearms officers. Just a few thin lines of brave bobbies hoping that the rioters don't realise how outnumbered the police are.

I'd be amazed if firearms are ever deployed in a riot situation let alone used, everyone wants the police to sort out the rioters but when they do there are always huge sections of society that lambaste the police for using excessive force.

You can't have it both ways I'm afraid, the police either sit back, take the missiles and petrol bombs and hope the rioters get bored and go home or the police go in there and bloody well stop them.

We are definitely too nice to rioters. They should have warned them that they were about to break out the plastic bullets and given them 45 minutes to clear the streets. They then should have shot anyone throwing rocks, petrol bombs or breaking into property.

We have the laws already. It's about time we started using them.
 
D

dovercat

Guest
So we had people with social issues up and down the country looting shops because an alleged gangster was shot by police? Seriously?

The social issues behind the riots have nothing to do with the police, they are simply employed to uphold the law set down by politicians.

Depends how the events that lead up to the original riot in London Tottenham were handled by the PCC and the police. The official report http://www.5daysinaugust.co.uk/PDF/downloads/Interim-Report-UK-Riots.pdf
mentions the march from Broadwater Farm estate to Totten police station at 5.30pm, the police having been informed that a vigil outside the police station might take place that day. The demand of the crowd that a senior police officer talk to the family of Mr Duncan. At 7.30pm the police said a senior police officer would be available to talk to them at 8.30pm. At 8.00-8.30pm the violence kicked off after rumors spread a 16 year old girl had confronted the police lines and the police had reacted with force.

If the riot could of been avoid if the police had a senior police officer available earlier remains to be seen. Also the details of the 16 year old girl confronting the police lines and the police response remain to be seen.

The question is why were so many willing to riot. Was it due to poor police community relations. I have read police community relations were not believed to be that bad before the riots. So maybe the police were just sitting on a powder keg not of their making.

The media has blamed the copy cat riots on the perceived lack of effective policing in the initial riot. But if policing had been more heavy pro-active in the initial riot it could of escalated the violence, the police were presumably wary of a repeat of previous very violent riot of 1985.
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
I've deleted a tranche of posts from the thread and have reopened it. If we can't discuss this like adults it will be closed permanently, ta.
 
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dovercat

Guest
We are definitely too nice to rioters. They should have warned them that they were about to break out the plastic bullets and given them 45 minutes to clear the streets. They then should have shot anyone throwing rocks, petrol bombs or breaking into property.

We have the laws already. It's about time we started using them.

I prefer the way we are policed today. With the police usually showing restraint despite severe provocation.

It is police actions which are viewed as inciting the crowd that get most criticized, the bottling and snatch and grab squads grabbing troublemakers - ring leaders.

I hope the collection of evidence and subsequent arrests, with hopefully heavy sentences, will act as a deterrent to future rioters and looters.

My major criticism of police handling of protests and civil disorder would be police officers who have no visible badge number, and the police preventing members of the public from filming.

I do not think the police escalating the violence is generally a good idea. The police can dominate a situation and quickly resolve it if they have overwhelming force. But in a civil disorder situation it is not like criminals in the riot do not have access to firearms. The police maybe better equipped and better trained than the rioters, but we have something like one police officer per over four hundred people in this country, so they could be severely out numbered even if the rioters represent a small portion of the population. Containing a riot seems to make more sense than trying to brake the riot. I would hope the rioters if contained are eventually going to get tired - bored and be slowly allowed to go home in small groups.


With the Tottenham riot it seems to have been primarily the PCC and the press that inflamed the situation in their press release and reporting of the police shooting.

The police even if they had a senior officer talk to the family when they arrived at the police station, I expect would of been able to say little due to the PCC investigation.

When someone in a growing crowd - angry mob, throws a rock at the police line, they are faced with a impossible choice, snatch and grab the troublemaker before it escalates, possibly escalating the situation, or let them get away with it and see if others join in throwing rocks.

How the police are found to have handled the situation with the 16 year old girl will I think be crucial in attributing blame for sparking the violence. If the police acted using reasonable force then they were just sitting on a powder keg, it would of probably kicked off eventually anyway. If the police acted with excessive force they poured fuel on a flammable situation. But the public have legal means to seek redress against the police if they act incorrectly. So I do not think you can ever justify rioting.

The quality of policing issue I think needs to be focused on if there was a serious problem with police community relations, the police as occupying force rather than part of the community, a high level of animosity between police and community. If the rioters were primarily criminal gangs and opportunistic looters then this would seem to not be the case.


Will the police use live rounds during riots?

I do not think police community relations are so bad that the police would use live ammunition in a riot. I certainly do not think using live ammunition in a riot would improve police community relations. We have a tradition of policing with consent and only using reasonable force not policing through fear and threat of lethal force
 
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Dave

Distinguished Member
My major criticism of police handling of protests and civil disorder would be police officers who have no visible badge number, and the police preventing members of the public from filming.

I agree with pretty much all of what you have said but I believe that the bit above is a thing of the past.

The G20 disorder has made the police all too aware that not showing your badge numbers is a big no no. In addition I'm more than happy to give mine out if asked too, despite having it emblazoned on me in no less than 4 different angles viewable from 360 degrees.

Regarding filming, there are big positives for having as much footage as possible. More footage is more evidence in my view. The press can sometimes become a pain in the rear frankly and actually get in the way, in which case they will be politely but firmly moved out of the way but I'm more than happy for them to be there and film/shoot what they want, it's a free country after all.

Regarding the community tensions between some and the police, it is a sad fact that some parts of our communities hate the police and will use any excuse to have a pop. This hatred is not about stop search laws, police tactics or police attitude, that's largely a fallacious lie. It's simply about the police being the only people in society willing and able to say no and mean it that these communities hate.

Take just one example, I had a report of a group of 6 black youths "tooled up" attempting to attack another youth. I stopped a group of 6 black youths a mere 300 metres away from where this was supposed to have happened. Naturally they were all searched. One of the group states "it's always the same". When I asked what was (I knew anyway) he stated stop and search. I then explained again why they were being searched and asked him how many times he had ever been stopped and searched, the reply, never.

We found a metal bar, a large padlock attached to the end of a chain and a bag of cannabis.

So from just one typical example, the powers used were correct, none arbitrary, fair and successful. That still doesn't change the attitude that despite this group carrying weapons, drugs and never having been stop searched before, the immediate attitude is that the police are wrong for doing it. How then are the police ever in a million years expected to change this attitude towards them?

It is clearly a cultural thing in some areas because I have children as young as 8 clearly expressing dislike and hatred for the police despite having never spoken to or even interacted with a police officer in any way. Until society identifies why some areas and cultures have such a hatred of being policed the problem will never be solved, hand wringing about stop and search powers and "community engagement" are just red herrings. The problems with these communities are far more deep seated than simply how they are policed, the results of that are merely the expression of something much more fundamental.
 
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dovercat

Guest
Regarding the community tensions between some and the police, it is a sad fact that some parts of our communities hate the police and will use any excuse to have a pop. This hatred is not about stop search laws, police tactics or police attitude, that's largely a fallacious lie. It's simply about the police being the only people in society willing and able to say no and mean it that these communities hate.

So from just one typical example, the powers used were correct, none arbitrary, fair and successful. That still doesn't change the attitude that despite this group carrying weapons, drugs and never having been stop searched before, the immediate attitude is that the police are wrong for doing it. How then are the police ever in a million years expected to change this attitude towards them?

It is clearly a cultural thing in some areas because I have children as young as 8 clearly expressing dislike and hatred for the police despite having never spoken to or even interacted with a police officer in any way. Until society identifies why some areas and cultures have such a hatred of being policed the problem will never be solved, hand wringing about stop and search powers and "community engagement" are just red herrings. The problems with these communities are far more deep seated than simply how they are policed, the results of that are merely the expression of something much more fundamental.

If people feel resentment towards society and the state the police are likely to be a focus of that resentment. Some parents do seem to indoctrinate their children with disrespect to hatred towards the police.

I think the idea of police getting actively involved in comminutes via involvement in community projects, schools and youth clubs is suppose to help. If people personally know a police officer they are less likely to resent all police. How much time and resources there are available for building bridges I guess is sadly the reverse of where it is needed, in a area of high poverty high crime I expect the police are often too busy.

I am fortunate to live in a low crime area, with good police community relations. So it is kind of a alien world.

But these days you seem to get people from all walks of life who will mouth off simply because they are getting told off because they were doing something wrong. It seems like a lot of people have been brought up as spoilt brats, stroppy, petulant, and liable to have a temper tantrum because their parents never gave them boundaries or enforced any discipline. There seems to be a lot of adults who have the emotional maturity of children. They have no respect for other people and they want everything their own way.
 
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Dave

Distinguished Member
If people feel resentment towards society and the state the police are likely to be a focus of that resentment. Some parents do seem to indoctrinate their children with disrespect to hatred towards the police.

I think the idea of police getting actively involved in comminutes via involvement in community projects, schools and youth clubs is suppose to help. If people personally know a police officer they are less likely to resent all police. How much time and resources there are available for building bridges I guess is sadly the reverse of where it is needed, in a area of high poverty high crime I expect the police are often too busy.

But you seem to get people from all walks of life who will mouth off simply because they are getting told off because they were doing something wrong. It seems like a lot of people have been brought up as spoilt brats, stroppy, petulant, and liable to have a temper tantrum because their parents never gave them boundaries or enforced any discipline. There seems to be a lot of adults who have the emotional maturity of children.

I am fortunate to live in a low crime area, with good police community relations. So it is kind of a alien world.

Community engagement is a fantastic tool, it bridges that gap between the police and the public. If nothing else it simply shows that police officers are actually human beings(no really).

As you say though the problem is resources, especially with the austere times we are currently experiencing. There are so many demands on a police officers time that spending it actually engaging with the communities they serve is a rare treat indeed. The problem is that this can't be measured in a quantifiable way so there is no target for it. No target means no priority despite the exponential effect it could have on an area. Even when I was on a neighbourhood team I had precious little time to spend with the community I worked in.
 

phil t

Well-known Member
Community engagement is a fantastic tool, it bridges that gap between the police and the public. If nothing else it simply shows that police officers are actually human beings(no really).

I know it’s not the fault of the police, but I’m sure there was a lot more community policing in my youth (makes me sound old) than there is now?
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
phil t said:
I know it’s not the fault of the police, but I’m sure there was a lot more community policing in my youth (makes me sound old) than there is now?

Probably was, there were no targets to maintain then.
 

leedswillprevai

Novice Member
Live rounds? should we be worried?
Tell me, what is it that is free about our society now?
We are becoming the very tyrannical police state which "we" once villified. This proves only one thing, anyone that supports this, never stood for anything. Instead they simply parroted whatever was the stance at the time.
On that note I am going to drink and drink very heavily because the lunatics are running the asylum.
 
Live rounds? should we be worried?
Tell me, what is it that is free about our society now?
We are becoming the very tyrannical police state which "we" once villified. This proves only one thing, anyone that supports this, never stood for anything. Instead they simply parroted whatever was the stance at the time.
On that note I am going to drink and drink very heavily because the lunatics are running the asylum.

Now I got into trouble here for saying such things. I think I'll join you for a glass.
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
Now I got into trouble here for saying such things. I think I'll join you for a glass.

No you didn't, you got in to trouble for calling someone who disagreed with you an idiot.:)

Enjoy your drinks, I'd join you but I'm off to work now to [-]shoot some rioters [/-]respond to emergency calls for service from my community. :D
 
No you didn't, you got in to trouble for calling someone who disagreed with you an idiot.:)

Enjoy your drinks, I'd join you but I'm off to work now to [-]shoot some rioters [/-]respond to emergency calls for service from my community. :D

I got in trouble with the guy I called an idiot for saying that. I did indeed get in trouble with you for calling him an idiot. ;)

Merry Christmas Dave, we'll save you a drop.
 

Wild Weasel

Well-known Member
You can rely on the Met's chiefs to get everything wrong.
 

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