Serious issue of firearms officers

Warrington Guardian: Serious issue of firearms officers Serious issue of firearms officers

PERHAPS to no-one's great surprise, certainly not mine, the police marksman who shot dead an unarmed man in Culcheth will face no criminal charges.

An officer from the self-same firearms unit shot dead a colleague at point-blank range on a training exercise more than four years ago and never faced a jury.

He cost the Greater Manchester force £250,000 in fines and court costs and put two of his training instructors through the wringer, but his reputation, and identity, were not infringed.

Once again another lengthy legal battle is underway after the shooting of Anthony Grainger behind some Warrngton Road shops, a man who police falsely suspected of stealing a much-coveted memory stick.

Quite understandably his family are outraged that it's only the police force itself that will be in the dock.

The Crown Prosecution Service, in its infinite wisdom, has ruled that lawyers, and not a jury, should decide on whether the marksman in question was right to fire the fatal shot, apparently reversing centuries of accepted notions of British justice.

Due legal process will now kick in and I've no doubt the family's concerns will be punted into the long grass until m'learned friends have earned their corn and the case is resolved.

But this should not deflect from the serious issues this case throws up regarding armed officers patrolling our streets.

I'm not disputing the very fact that they should be tooled up, given the advanced armouries of some of our criminal classes.

However how they operate and where they roam should surely be placed under scrutiny, when the dust settles.

Here's an example - the same firearms unit, detailed above, has an operation which takes them over the border from Greater Manchester to a small Lancashire town.

An arrest is made, amid much drama and screeching of police tyres, all's well and good.

Being a curious soul, and with e-mails, photos and calls from interested neighbours, I try to establish what brought the armed response boys into this little corner of Lancashire.

The press people at GMP headquarters are at a loss, as their team left their jurisdiction and there is no log of their activities off Mancunian soil.

And when a similar call is made to their counterparts at Lancashire's mission control, they have no clue either, as their bobbies are not involved.

Like I said, no blood was shed on this occasion but it would have made for a fascinating post-mortem if it had, given the air of mystery and intrigue surrounding that little episode.

I've nothing but respect for any firearms officer - it's probably the toughest job on any force and they are required to make split-second decisions most of us would baulk at.

The sooner there's a north-west wide unit though, which is co-ordinated, accountable and all our constabularies are plugged into, the better in my book, and the safer we can all feel.

Comments (14)

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8:12am Thu 23 Jan 14

A.P.Moore says...

You call this an article?
How one-sided is it possible to be?
The man in question was a known criminal who was believed to be armed and about to commit an armed robbery.
He, obviously, didn't 'come quietly' when confronted by police.
He put HIMSELF in that situation and only has himself to blame to the outcome of his chosen life path.
Would you rather have the police let criminals get on with it?
You call this an article? How one-sided is it possible to be? The man in question was a known criminal who was believed to be armed and about to commit an armed robbery. He, obviously, didn't 'come quietly' when confronted by police. He put HIMSELF in that situation and only has himself to blame to the outcome of his chosen life path. Would you rather have the police let criminals get on with it? A.P.Moore
  • Score: 2

8:21am Thu 23 Jan 14

Nick Tessla says...

A.P.Moore wrote:
You call this an article?
How one-sided is it possible to be?
The man in question was a known criminal who was believed to be armed and about to commit an armed robbery.
He, obviously, didn't 'come quietly' when confronted by police.
He put HIMSELF in that situation and only has himself to blame to the outcome of his chosen life path.
Would you rather have the police let criminals get on with it?
The death penalty for murder was abolished in the 1960s , the rest (treason, piracy etc.) were abolished in 1998.

As far as I am aware they didn't make a exemption for people with previous convictions and/or those the Police dislike. They certainly didn't allow for such sentences to be carried out without the inconvenience of a trial.
[quote][p][bold]A.P.Moore[/bold] wrote: You call this an article? How one-sided is it possible to be? The man in question was a known criminal who was believed to be armed and about to commit an armed robbery. He, obviously, didn't 'come quietly' when confronted by police. He put HIMSELF in that situation and only has himself to blame to the outcome of his chosen life path. Would you rather have the police let criminals get on with it?[/p][/quote]The death penalty for murder was abolished in the 1960s , the rest (treason, piracy etc.) were abolished in 1998. As far as I am aware they didn't make a exemption for people with previous convictions and/or those the Police dislike. They certainly didn't allow for such sentences to be carried out without the inconvenience of a trial. Nick Tessla
  • Score: 1

8:55am Thu 23 Jan 14

A.P.Moore says...

Ok, so we'll get rid of all our armed police response units.

Would that satisfy you?

Give yet more power to the criminal element in this country?

Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Ok, so we'll get rid of all our armed police response units. Would that satisfy you? Give yet more power to the criminal element in this country? Live by the sword, die by the sword. A.P.Moore
  • Score: -2

9:22am Thu 23 Jan 14

Nick Tessla says...

A.P.Moore wrote:
Ok, so we'll get rid of all our armed police response units.

Would that satisfy you?

Give yet more power to the criminal element in this country?

Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Why not actually read what Pete wrote before commenting?
[quote][p][bold]A.P.Moore[/bold] wrote: Ok, so we'll get rid of all our armed police response units. Would that satisfy you? Give yet more power to the criminal element in this country? Live by the sword, die by the sword.[/p][/quote]Why not actually read what Pete wrote before commenting? Nick Tessla
  • Score: 4

9:36am Thu 23 Jan 14

A.P.Moore says...

"PERHAPS to no-one's great surprise, certainly not mine, the police marksman who shot dead an unarmed man in Culcheth will face no criminal charges."

Hardly a non-judgemental paragraph to begin an article with.
"PERHAPS to no-one's great surprise, certainly not mine, the police marksman who shot dead an unarmed man in Culcheth will face no criminal charges." Hardly a non-judgemental paragraph to begin an article with. A.P.Moore
  • Score: 0

10:00am Thu 23 Jan 14

Nick Tessla says...

A.P.Moore wrote:
"PERHAPS to no-one's great surprise, certainly not mine, the police marksman who shot dead an unarmed man in Culcheth will face no criminal charges."

Hardly a non-judgemental paragraph to begin an article with.
Are you saying you were surprised that he didn't face charges?

Go on make a real effort and read the rest.

As for "Live by the sword, die by the sword" - such a mentality may be appropriate for fantasy role-plating but is not relevant to a civilised society.
[quote][p][bold]A.P.Moore[/bold] wrote: "PERHAPS to no-one's great surprise, certainly not mine, the police marksman who shot dead an unarmed man in Culcheth will face no criminal charges." Hardly a non-judgemental paragraph to begin an article with.[/p][/quote]Are you saying you were surprised that he didn't face charges? Go on make a real effort and read the rest. As for "Live by the sword, die by the sword" - such a mentality may be appropriate for fantasy role-plating but is not relevant to a civilised society. Nick Tessla
  • Score: 3

10:11am Thu 23 Jan 14

Nick Tessla says...

I mean role-playing.
I mean role-playing. Nick Tessla
  • Score: 0

2:17pm Thu 23 Jan 14

A.P.Moore says...

Ok then, you reap what you sow.

Better?
Ok then, you reap what you sow. Better? A.P.Moore
  • Score: -1

4:50pm Fri 24 Jan 14

PageA says...

Now that's what I'm talking about!
Credit where credit's due. Good work Pete, I might go and buy a copy to say thank you for this report.
Now that's what I'm talking about! Credit where credit's due. Good work Pete, I might go and buy a copy to say thank you for this report. PageA
  • Score: 1

6:15pm Fri 24 Jan 14

PageA says...

A.P.Moore wrote:
Ok then, you reap what you sow.

Better?
Are you seriously suggesting that comment as justification for deployment and use of the Police firearms in this case?..or any case? Are you saying that regardless of whether the Police felt an imminent threat to life from this unarmed man..the fact that you think he was a bit of wrong 'un was reason enough to shoot him? Should we replace any policies regarding shooting suspects with the question "does he look dodgy?" to the officer with the gun. Would you be happy with that if someone shot you or your family member because someone in the police thought you or they'd done something you or they hadn't done?
[quote][p][bold]A.P.Moore[/bold] wrote: Ok then, you reap what you sow. Better?[/p][/quote]Are you seriously suggesting that comment as justification for deployment and use of the Police firearms in this case?..or any case? Are you saying that regardless of whether the Police felt an imminent threat to life from this unarmed man..the fact that you think he was a bit of wrong 'un was reason enough to shoot him? Should we replace any policies regarding shooting suspects with the question "does he look dodgy?" to the officer with the gun. Would you be happy with that if someone shot you or your family member because someone in the police thought you or they'd done something you or they hadn't done? PageA
  • Score: 1

8:43pm Fri 24 Jan 14

MikeJT says...

Its such a shame that idiotic journalists are not held to the same high standard as armed police officers. Or maybe you were being "ironic", Magill. (Sorry you dont have enough respect top get the "Mr")
Its such a shame that idiotic journalists are not held to the same high standard as armed police officers. Or maybe you were being "ironic", Magill. (Sorry you dont have enough respect top get the "Mr") MikeJT
  • Score: -2

9:32pm Fri 24 Jan 14

PageA says...

A.P.Moore wrote:
You call this an article?
How one-sided is it possible to be?
The man in question was a known criminal who was believed to be armed and about to commit an armed robbery.
He, obviously, didn't 'come quietly' when confronted by police.
He put HIMSELF in that situation and only has himself to blame to the outcome of his chosen life path.
Would you rather have the police let criminals get on with it?
I'm sorry but you're making a few assumptions here.

'In none of the dozens of Operation Shire records is there even a hint that the men had access to weapons.
The evidence they were planning robberies also amounted to nothing more than the fact that they were sometimes seen in places where there were commercial premises, such as supermarkets and banks.'

‘I shouted to the vehicle occupants, “Armed police, show me your hands.” ’
Q9 saw Grainger move his right hand downwards – he says ‘suddenly’ – though a statement from one of the other officers say this movement was slow.
The officer levelled his laser- aiming device ‘and fired one round to the centre mass of the driver’ – Grainger’s chest.
It was only afterwards that Q9’s colleagues shot out the Audi’s tyres and lobbed two tear gas grenades inside the vehicle. By then – around three seconds after the ‘alpha’ car had screeched to a halt – Grainger was already dying: no tear gas was found inside his lungs.

If you just make statements because you think you're supporting the good guys, you put us all at risk.
[quote][p][bold]A.P.Moore[/bold] wrote: You call this an article? How one-sided is it possible to be? The man in question was a known criminal who was believed to be armed and about to commit an armed robbery. He, obviously, didn't 'come quietly' when confronted by police. He put HIMSELF in that situation and only has himself to blame to the outcome of his chosen life path. Would you rather have the police let criminals get on with it?[/p][/quote]I'm sorry but you're making a few assumptions here. 'In none of the dozens of Operation Shire records is there even a hint that the men had access to weapons. The evidence they were planning robberies also amounted to nothing more than the fact that they were sometimes seen in places where there were commercial premises, such as supermarkets and banks.' ‘I shouted to the vehicle occupants, “Armed police, show me your hands.” ’ Q9 saw Grainger move his right hand downwards – he says ‘suddenly’ – though a statement from one of the other officers say this movement was slow. The officer levelled his laser- aiming device ‘and fired one round to the centre mass of the driver’ – Grainger’s chest. It was only afterwards that Q9’s colleagues shot out the Audi’s tyres and lobbed two tear gas grenades inside the vehicle. By then – around three seconds after the ‘alpha’ car had screeched to a halt – Grainger was already dying: no tear gas was found inside his lungs. If you just make statements because you think you're supporting the good guys, you put us all at risk. PageA
  • Score: 1

5:59pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Nick Tessla says...

MikeJT wrote:
Its such a shame that idiotic journalists are not held to the same high standard as armed police officers. Or maybe you were being "ironic", Magill. (Sorry you dont have enough respect top get the "Mr")
With that attitude, I'm glad you're not an armed police officer - that's for sure.

(I don't think anyone would defend a journalist shooting someone dead any more than a copper.)

Of course they are held to different standards - a journalist doesn't do his job properly and a footie score gets reported incorrectly or grammar is mangled - no unarmed man lies dead in the street.

If they aren't prepared to be held to those standards then they shouldn't be in the job.
[quote][p][bold]MikeJT[/bold] wrote: Its such a shame that idiotic journalists are not held to the same high standard as armed police officers. Or maybe you were being "ironic", Magill. (Sorry you dont have enough respect top get the "Mr")[/p][/quote]With that attitude, I'm glad you're not an armed police officer - that's for sure. (I don't think anyone would defend a journalist shooting someone dead any more than a copper.) Of course they are held to different standards - a journalist doesn't do his job properly and a footie score gets reported incorrectly or grammar is mangled - no unarmed man lies dead in the street. If they aren't prepared to be held to those standards then they shouldn't be in the job. Nick Tessla
  • Score: 1

7:33pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Pauline McEwan says...

He may have been a criminal and deserved to be arrested and jailed, but it was proven he was unarmed, no excuse but there is no evidence whatsoever that he was doing anything illegal. Just because he is known to police does not mean that every time he left the house he was intending on committing a crime.
He may have been a criminal and deserved to be arrested and jailed, but it was proven he was unarmed, no excuse but there is no evidence whatsoever that he was doing anything illegal. Just because he is known to police does not mean that every time he left the house he was intending on committing a crime. Pauline McEwan
  • Score: 1

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