Don’t arm police call

Stuart Drummond
Stuart Drummond

CLEVELAND Police Authority chairman Stuart Drummond says he does not want to see armed officers on the streets following the double killing of two policewomen in Manchester.

Mr Drummond said everyone connected with the force had been rocked after PC Fiona Bone, 32, and PC Nicola Hughes, 23, were shot and attacked with a grenade when they investigated a burglary report.

There have been calls from some to arm all front-line officers.

But Mr Drummond described such a response as a knee jerk reaction that could create more fear among people.

He said: “Everybody has been extremely shocked and saddened by the incident. It has resonated throughout Cleveland Police force and everybody connected to it.

“It just shows the dangers officers face every day on the front line.

“Nobody should go to work expecting something like that to happen, officers are there to protect and serve the public and it’s an absolute tragedy when something like this happens.”

But Mr Drummond, who is also Mayor of Hartlepool, added: “Thankfully, it is extremely rare and I don’t think anybody should be forced into a knee-jerk reaction about arming all police officers.

“It might cause more concern among the public should officers be walking around with guns all the time. It almost creates a fear and perception that everywhere is dangerous when it’s not.”

Dale Cregan, 29, who was wanted in connection with the deaths of a dad and son, walked into a local police station shortly after the incident in Hattersley, Greater Manchester.

Mr Drummond added: “Thankfully in the Cleveland area, and Hartlepool in particular, we have a low number of firearms incidents. We don’t have the problems some of the big cities have with armed gangs.

“Certainly in the Cleveland area it’s not something I would be keen to see at all and I don’t think the vast majority of the public would as well.”

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of chief Police Officers has warned against a rush to routinely arm officers.