Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
5 June 2017, 12:19
Ex-firearms officer gives insight into problems the force faces.
A former firearms officers explains gives an honest explanation of the problems the police are facing and why it won't be easy to fix.
A serving policeman called James O’Brien to give an honest assessment of the problems police face and the difficulty of de-politicising it.
Theresa May, who was Home Secretary between 2010 and 2016, has come in for heavy criticism in the wake of recent terror attacks for presiding over a 20,000 cut in police numbers and a reduction of 1,300 firearms officers.
Those who have raised the criticism have been accused of trying to make political capital out of tragedy.
John is a current serving officer and former firearms officer. He gave his informed view of the situation.
“I don’t know if the cuts in police have effected more of these attacks going on. I can understand it from a local policing side of things, because you need people gathering evidence and working with communities.
“But people using this as a political tool to get more votes, I don’t agree with.”
He said a big problem is a lack of honesty from across the political spectrum.
“Just be honest. Say ‘we’re actively trying to recruit officers and this is the problem with trying to recruit more firearm officers.’ But they don’t, do they.”
He proposed one idea to increase the number of firearms officers in the short term.
“There are people like myself, who are now doing different roles who have done a firearms course that they could utilise by saying ‘right, lets get you on a course, maybe a 2 week course, to get you back up to speed’. Then we could be used if the worst was to happen. That’s not been mentioned anywhere.”
John praised the response of firearm officers on Saturday, but warned “it would not always be like that.”
James said that if that is the case, then to him it looked like there was a clear link between cuts and safety.
“It’s so difficult,” John said.
“And that’s the sound of someone being honest,” James said “Whereas a politician kind of has to pretend it isn’t.”