Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Most UK police do not carry lethal weapons. This is a longstanding national tradition that enjoys widespread support both from the public and within the police itself. Great Britain has some of the strictest gun laws in the world with private ownership of handguns more or less illegal and rifles and shotguns subject to stringent regulation. Firearms related violence is rare in Britain and the overall homicide rate (per capita) is a fraction of that in the US.
That said, around one in ten police are selected following a rigorous vetting process for specialized training in weapons that is generally much more intensive than what American police receive. It includes not only training in the use of guns and other weapons, but also comes with a heavy emphasis on de-escalation of confrontations, and critically, when not to use lethal force. Upon completion of their training these officers are given special certificates allowing them to carry firearms on duty. Many are assigned to routine mobile patrol where they can be called in quickly if needed to handle potentially dangerous situations. Others are assigned to elite counter-terrorism units while some handle security at important locations such as the Houses of Parliament. Still others are assigned to plain clothes duty as close protection officers for members of the Royal Family or senior government officials and visiting VIPs where they perform duties similar to the US Secret Service but with a reputation for being a bit more discreet.
As a result of all this, police involved shootings are incredibly rare in the UK. But even so, they do happen. A few years ago, an unarmed young man of African descent was fatally shot by a police officer under circumstances that provoked a great deal of controversy. Last week that officer was charged with murder and the police are up in arms. (Pun intended.)
Within the ranks of London's Metropolitan Police, that's Scotland Yard to us Americans, large numbers of firearms certified officers have handed in their permits and weapons and are refusing to carry out armed police duties. They are protesting not only what many perceive as unjustified charges against a fellow officer, but what they see as the extreme legal hazard this is signaling for armed police in general. In a very high-pressure job where officers may be required to make life and death decisions in a split second, they are not prepared to risk being criminally prosecuted for making the wrong decision in the minds of uninvolved parties second guessing their actions. So many have in fact walked off the job, or at least this aspect of the job, that the government is considering calling out the military for situations that would normally be handled by specialized police services.
Read the latest details here.
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Sunday, September 17, 2023
Sunday, September 10, 2023
This is one of the better analysis of the current state of Orthodoxy in America that I have seen. I would also note that the channel is one of the best I have come across for discussions of religion in general, being consistently informative and neutral in its discussion of beliefs and practices for different denominations and groups.