Weekly Poll, police shooting

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When should a police officer be allowed to use his service gun?

Only when there is an immediate treath to his life or that from others
5
29%
When there is a reasonably assumption that the target poses an immediate indirect/direct treath to his life or that from others
8
47%
When the target is suspected or charged of/with serious crimes and tries to flee or otherwise obstructs his arrest
1
6%
When the target has killed (or is suspected of killing) another law enforcer
0
No votes
Whenever the target is fleeing from a crime scene
0
No votes
Whenever the police officer feels like it and the target is from an ethnic minority
1
6%
I like shooting ducks
2
12%
 
Total votes: 17
Jordy...
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Weekly Poll, police shooting

Postby Jordy... » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:40 pm

Well..? You decide over life and death
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Postby Deepsmeg » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:23 pm

I work within a different sector, but it is partially transferrable:
The top priority is safety, and that has an order:
You
Your crewmate/team
Bystanders
Your "client"

From the medical background, this is based off of your patient already being hurt and everyone else not.
This transfers to the public safety sector with your client being the suspect.
If the suspect is going to cause harm to you, then you are justified to take REASONABLE action for defence.
If the suspect is going for your colleague, then again you have that justification to take reasonable action.
The general public are who you are sworn/paid to help. Part of that duty of care is to ensure that they do not come to harm.
If your suspect thinks that attacking you is a good idea, they need to be dealt with appropriately to prevent them harming themself or others.

In the UK, a firearm discharge gets immediately taken to the Independant Police Complaints Commission to investigate.
Paperwork has to be done if an officer so much as draws and reddots a taser in response to a suspect, whether they press the button or not.

What people tend to ignore is that it is "Reasonable Action"
If I pull a pistol on a Police officer, I would expect an armed response team to be called in and to have guns pointed at me and the risk of being shot for non-compliance.
If I pull an iron bar, I would not expect and ARV to appear, but I would expect the constable to draw his asp and risk being brained by a big stick and possibly sprayed.

A firearms response to the first scenario is reasonable, in the second it is not.
The caveat there being that if I were to threaten a firearms office with an iron bar, it would be more likely that I would be threatened with an armed response due to the being on the scene.
That response may not take the form of a weapon being fired or drawn, but possibly a simple verbal warning as an asp is readied - "Stop, I am armed Police." That verbal confirmation of "this may be a bad idea" can have a strong effect.
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Postby Feud » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:35 pm

Use, or fire? The two aren't always the same.

But, I suspect that you meant fire, so I'll respond as such.

Most police departments have some version of a force continuum, and while different, they are usually fairly close on certain things.

Personally, I think that if the officer has probable cause to believe that a person posses an imminent threat to the life of the officer or to those around them, or that the person puts them at risk of significant serious injury, then the officer is justified in firing. Factors in determining cause might be such things as whether the person is armed, where they are, what conduct the person has or is engaged in, etc.

Deepsmeg wrote:What people tend to ignore is that it is "Reasonable Action"
If I pull a pistol on a Police officer, I would expect an armed response team to be called in and to have guns pointed at me and the risk of being shot for non-compliance.
If I pull an iron bar, I would not expect and ARV to appear, but I would expect the constable to draw his asp and risk being brained by a big stick and possibly sprayed.

A firearms response to the first scenario is reasonable, in the second it is not.


I would disagree with you there, I think that there are some situations where a person armed with an iron bar may be subdued justifiably with a firearm. There are a lot of factors, but there are certainly some circumstances that I think would justify it.
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Postby Deepsmeg » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:56 pm

I'll grant that, however I was trying to talk in the general rather than the specific.
Usually it would be excessive force.
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Postby Cooper42 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:04 pm

In a UK context, armed police should only ever be deployed in response to armed individuals.

Unlike other countries, the chances of any given member of the public being armed are exceptionally low. So it is completely right that police officers are only ever armed in exceptional circumstances.

I absolutely hate it that central London has, for years now, had armed police officers on patrol.
Around Downing street, I can just about accpet - there's been snipers there for a very long time.

But seeing police with submachine guns amble through Leicester Square is just frightening. And unacceptable.

Calling out armed police in response to a melee weapon is just wrong.
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Postby jelco » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:23 pm

I think you mean 'heavily armed' instead of just 'armed'. I agree that submachine guns are not exactly a friendly sight; around here only the Marechaussee (roughly translating to marshals) seem to carry them, and even then I only really see it on Schiphol airport. However, almost all police officers carry handguns (even trainees are allowed to when they have completed the required training) and I really don't mind. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that shootings are exceptionally rare around here; the recent mall shooting is the largest shooting our country has ever seen in peacetime, with 'just' 6 people killed. The fact there's so little precedent for gun crime in this country seems kind of comforting since I suspect it makes an officer think over pulling his gun a lot more than in some other countries.

That being said, disarming some of the lower ranks wouldn't be such a bad idea. The fact that the chance of abuse is low doesn't mean we need so many guns on the streets.

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Postby Feud » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:16 pm

Cooper42 wrote:But seeing police with submachine guns amble through Leicester Square is just frightening.


Do you find the guns themselves frightening, or that the police are wielding them?

(For the record, sub-machine guns are incredibly fun.) :D

Cooper42 wrote:Calling out armed police in response to a melee weapon is just wrong.


I'd again disagree with such. Someone with a melee weapon can do an incredible amount of damage, and I see no reason to risk an officer's life or long term health by not having the ability to use firearms.

There are lots of less lethal options out there, such as mace and tazers. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. Did you know people can build tolerances to pepper spray? Yep, and some people it hardly effects at all. To demonstrate this, one of the police departments I worked for would require all new recruits to be sprayed directly in the face. Then, the recruits had to recite things from memory (their PO number, statutes, etc), read signs, do pushups, run laps, jump walls, and finally fight an academy instructor for several minutes before they were allowed to wash it out. You weren't allowed to graduate until you passed. You can do a lot when your eyes are full of pepper spray.

Tazers? They work, sometimes. Sometimes they don't, depending on the person and what state of mind they might be in. When someone is on a good dose of drugs, they can do amazing things. We used hinged handcuffs, for instance, because a determined suspect on the right drug combination can break the steel chain on the other kind. One guy I know of, loaded up on methamphetamine and holding someone hostage, was shot fifteen times in the chest and still attacked officers (that's no urban myth either, I know the officers involved, it royally freaked them out).

I'm not saying cops seeing someone with a lead pipe out to just roll up on them and shoot em. But, if other methods aren't practical, available, or effective, I'd rather that they end the threat with a gun than come back safe than with long term nerve damage from a strike, a shattered jaw, a brain injury, or worse.
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Postby Cooper42 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:02 pm

jelco wrote:I think you mean 'heavily armed' instead of just 'armed'. I agree that submachine guns are not exactly a friendly sight; around here only the Marechaussee (roughly translating to marshals) seem to carry them, and even then I only really see it on Schiphol airport. However, almost all police officers carry handguns (even trainees are allowed to when they have completed the required training) and I really don't mind. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that shootings are exceptionally rare around here; the recent mall shooting is the largest shooting our country has ever seen in peacetime, with 'just' 6 people killed. The fact there's so little precedent for gun crime in this country seems kind of comforting since I suspect it makes an officer think over pulling his gun a lot more than in some other countries.

That being said, disarming some of the lower ranks wouldn't be such a bad idea. The fact that the chance of abuse is low doesn't mean we need so many guns on the streets.

Jelco
No, I mean armed. I find police with handguns just as disturbing as submachine guns.

In the UK it is NOT, in anyway, a normal occurence to see a police officer with a handgun.

Which gets me to feud's question:
It's both the weapon and that it is held by an officer.

For a range of reasons.
Guns, they're pretty fucking scary.
Police officers, pretty fucking scary too, and, having been beaten for peaceful protest, I don't trust them with batons, let alone weapons.

The two together make it worse
a) Because armed police in the UK has historically equated to the presence of major threat. So, even though now it becomes 'normal,' there is still that equation, and the presence of some threat becomes normalised instead of particular.
Which is EXACTLY what people mean when they talk about the fostering of a culture of fear: Arm the police in order to make the populace think there is something to be scared of - because, you know, gangs and terrorism are an entirely new thing to 21st century London...

b) Because I don't trust individual police officers, nor their orders or training.
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Postby Ace Rimmer » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:11 pm

Feud wrote:Tazers? They work, sometimes. Sometimes they don't, depending on the person and what state of mind they might be in. When someone is on a good dose of drugs, they can do amazing things. We used hinged handcuffs, for instance, because a determined suspect on the right drug combination can break the steel chain on the other kind. One guy I know of, loaded up on methamphetamine and holding someone hostage, was shot fifteen times in the chest and still attacked officers (that's no urban myth either, I know the officers involved, it royally

Drugs can do crazy things. I know of a story where a teenager on pcp (I belive) was involved in a really bad vehicle accident in which several people were killed and when the officers/medical team arrived, he was trying walk like nothing happened. He had broken his back, broken ribs, one leg had bones protruding, and other sever injuries.
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Postby Xocrates » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:33 pm

Cooper42 wrote:b) Because I don't trust individual police officers, nor their orders or training.

The fact that you don't trust the police says a lot more about the social issues of your country than the detail of whether or not they carry guns.
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Postby xander » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:12 pm

Xocrates wrote:
Cooper42 wrote:b) Because I don't trust individual police officers, nor their orders or training.

The fact that you don't trust the police says a lot more about the social issues of your country than the detail of whether or not they carry guns.

I don't think that is true at all. It is a truism that power corrupts, and that people with power cannot every be entirely trusted. Isn't that basically one of the points of the Stanford Prison Experiment?

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Postby Xocrates » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:26 pm

That assumes that the Police force has power over the law abiding citizen. If you've done nothing wrong there is nothing the police should be able to do to you.

The Police should have enough power to deal with disturbances, but from the moment on that you're afraid of their power it means that either they are corrupt and abusing power they shouldn't actually have and/or there are enough disturbances that they had to be granted more power than they should reasonably have in order to deal with it.

Both of which reveal social problems.
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Postby trickser » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:44 pm

Xocrates wrote:That assumes that the Police force has power over the law abiding citizen. If you've done nothing wrong there is nothing the police should be able to do to you.

Its a bit too idealistic. The Police not only has to arrest law breaking citizen but also prevent crime in beforehand on suspicion. To confirm any suspicion it needs power over anybody. Then you need a rule-set about suspicious but not unlawful actions which allow threating of lawful acting people, but this breads a lot of contradictions.
Or Police doesnt prevent crime but just hunts criminals. Which seems dissatisfying also.
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Postby Xocrates » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:52 pm

Yes, ultimately there is a very fine line between them being too powerful and essentially powerless. This does nothing to change my original point as while having a fully trustworthy police force will always be an utopian dream, being able to outright say that they can't (or shouldn't?) be trusted will always reveal social issues.
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Postby Jordy... » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:03 pm

I agree with xander, power corrupts. The Stanford Prison Experiment is an example of that, but more worrying is that people also show a tendency to obey authority. These two things coupled form a bad mix.

Give a police officer power and he'll already be prone to abuse. This is only kept in check by control mechanisms which try to counter this tendency, but as soon as these mechanisms fail, or god forbid are altered to allow abuse, a police officer can become a very dangerous men/women.

So instead of relying on control mechanisms that may fail or be abused by higher powers even, I would argue to keep the power level of any authority as low as possible.

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