Armed Police Can’t Stop Attacks

Last Wednesday 3rd August 2016 the London Evening Standard displayed a terrifyingly stark front page featuring four Robocop style Met Police Officers.

Armed to the teeth in a show of military strength. Inside there was a detailed breakdown of all their artillery. This would keep Londoner’s safe was the clear message, despite Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe past comments that it was a case of not if, but when terror strikes the capital.

Armed Met Police

Armed Met Police

 

Horrifically, a tragic incident later that very same evening exposed the futility of such a strategy as a rampaging knifeman cut to shreds the Met Police’s show of military level strength which they and the Mayor of London hoped would give reassurance to Londoner’s.

A letter I wrote about this is published in today’s London Evening Standard, p41, Monday 8th August 2016.

The article is but an extract of the full article below. The essence is there but it omitted one key message re the requirement, in my view, to target mental health, which is more often than not a key feature of mass killings in USA, France and the smaller scale attacks witnessed in England. It’s quite ironic, symbolising all that’s wrong with the approach taken by the authorities, that the paper overlooked the key element of my article!

In the past week today’s paper reports that 5 other people have been stabbed to death in the last 7 days alone in the capital. Sadly, armed police didn’t prevent any of those losses of life, which further highlights the impotency of the Met Police’s strategy.

Met Police Robocops and Mayor of London fail to Protect Londoners

Last Wednesday 3rd August 2016 the London Evening Standard displayed a terrifyingly stark front page featuring four Robocop style Met Police Officers. Armed to the teeth in a show of military strength. Inside there was a detailed breakdown of all their artillery. This would keep Londoner’s safe was the clear message, despite Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe past comments that it was a case of not if, but when terror strikes the capital.

 

Well we didn’t have to wait long as the very SAME day terror struck in Russell Square leaving one unfortunate US tourist dead, Mrs Darlene Horton from Florida and 5 others badly injured as a young man went on a violent rampage.

Darlene Horton

Darlene Horton

Whilst I don’t doubt the Metropolitan Police have and will continue to foil many attacks in the capital, the fact of the matter is they failed this time. The fact of the matter is they cannot prevent such an attack, any more than they seemingly cannot prevent youth knife crime murders by schoolboys and young men.

No amount of intelligence or armed presence can stop a random, lone individual who is not on their radar. They can of course respond. Anyone can after the event. It’s not their fault of course, but that’s just too late. Rather than squander so much money, time and energies on defence on the ‘war on terror’, a better strategy would be for our political and law enforcement leaders to invest their resources in a refocused priority to tackle instead, or rather simultaneously, The Rise in Mental Health issues, which is killing more people in the Western world than Islamic terrorism ever has.

Recognising it, diagnosing it, treating it – both for children and especially un-diagnosed adults, for whom access to mental health treatment is woeful is vital. More often than not so many of the tragedies here and in America have clearly been rooted in unresolved, severe, mental health issues. Regardless of other extremist opinions some may carry this is the underlying factor that needs tackling if the authorities are to reduce the number of future tragedies.

Mayor Khan Fails Londoner’s
London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote an opinion piece in the Evening Standard (04.08.16), yet he failed on so many areas it was as shocking and as blatantly clear as the previous day’s front page.

Don’t change your plans he told Londoner’s. Carry on your daily business as normal. Yet he reportedly immediately left his Mediterranean holiday (abandoned his family?) to immediately return to London. Why? What could he possible do AFTER the event?

He said his #1 priority is to keep London safe to be prepared for any eventuality, that the police were doing all they can to prevent and respond to any attack. Yet he and the police failed to do so on Wednesday night and I fail to see what value there was for the victims in his breaking his holiday.

He said we mustn’t jump to conclusions? Yet he did so in returning immediately! Jumping to the wrong conclusion at that. We don’t need a showboating Mayor. We need one that’s going to get to the root of the problem and deal with it. He’s new in the role and I wish him the very best of luck. He’s going to need it.

Whether its mental health or terrorism related outrages, lessons must be learned, but as last Wednesday night showed, arming our police to the teeth and declaring war on an unknown enemy is not the solution.

Article © Michael Peters, Editor, Tiemo Talk of the Town
Photographs © Evening Standard

I welcome your comments.

Links:

  1. Anti- Knife Crime fundraiser –  Standing up to Knife Crime at the Hammersmith Apollo – 19th October 2015
  2. The Cross and The Switchblade – Book review – 17th February 2015
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6 Responses to Armed Police Can’t Stop Attacks

  1. Very true and despicable. I can recall some thirty years ago, following the abolition of the GLC came a cascade of attacks on Local Government Services. I believe the next to fall was the closure of Mental Health Facilities followed by the closure of ILEA Youth Services.
    As a result, we saw many unbeknownst individuals, having simply been turned out of closed Asylum Institutions wondering the streets with psychiatric mental problems. Then came the closure of Youth Clubs, leaving hoards of young people to wander the streets.
    At that time, I had just begun my Local Government career in Community Services, which was a twenty year battle for my department to exist, throughout constant Government Legislation attempting to close L.G. Services, surviving only be continues rationalization, i.e. Cut Backs, which after 20yrs service had serious effects on my own mental and physical health, leading to my early retirement.

    • Tiemo Talk says:

      Thanks for that interesting account Spencer. It really puts into perspective what can and has happened when youth engagement and mental health funding is cut.

      I hope these events will be a wake up call to local authorities and the NHS to reconsider their approach and strategy in these areas.

  2. Tiemo Talk says:

    Spencer Sorry to hear it had such an impact on your own physical and mental health.

    Hope you get better soon.

  3. Arti says:

    Your tiemo article is spot on. It’s very distressing The Standard did not publish your article in full (it seems to me that press are trying to make the public fearful using the “terrorist” agenda, fully aware that is not the case. Granted they may not have been aware of the circumstances at the time, but post event having the correct facts & then choosing to ignore the real issues is untenable.

    I would be more terrified seeing those armed officers on our streets, you only have to see what’s happening in the US to see what can happen.

    There has to be a much better way of dealing with both the terrorist & mental health issues, alternatives have to found.

  4. Pingback: After Manchester & London Bridge Can We Do More to Combat Islamic Extremism and Knife Crime? | tiemotalkofthetown

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