We need more armed police – but do they have to be like the ones who killed Mark Saunders?

I doubt there is a single person reading this who has not been appalled by the case of Mark Saunders, the barrister shot dead by police while depressed, drunk, desperate and having pathetically taken pot shots at houses with his shotgun. While I don’t believe that the jury could have reached any other verdict than the one they did – if the police marksmen swear on oath they felt threatened and that Saunders was a danger to the public, then clearly it must be just the way they describe it – I doubt I’m the only person who believes that this poor man deserved a better chance than the one he got.

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One thought on “We need more armed police – but do they have to be like the ones who killed Mark Saunders?”

  1. There is a possibly more important aspect to this James. I have been looking at police shootings recently and it is clear there is a training and leadership problem. This leaves us both in danger from armed police ourselves and unprotected against real threats. The Mark Saunders case was clearly manslaughter; the police only felt threatened because they chose to put themselves in harms way as a part of their aggressive, confrontational style. By protecting the police from criticism, they will not improve. IPCC reports avoid asking questions when the answer would indict the police and their actions. We have seen that when the armed police are unsure where a gunman is they refuse to assist victims in case it puts them in danger (despite witnesses attesting that the gunman had gone). Although I believe there to be a chance that the people pursuing and who actually shot Jean Charles were military, hence the panicked cover up, even if they were police they had clearly been half trained in special forces style execution. I say half trained because when you get it right (Gibraltar) it is effective, but when you forget the bit about knowing your target and shoot someone ‘just in case’, then something is seriously wrong. Read the IPCC report about the shooting of Terry Nicholas and tell me that isn’t a terrible tale of inept policing. So many times it is clear that wholly predictable circumstances are overlooked and people die.

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