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Top cop’s no to armed response
10:00am Monday 14th January 2013 in News
A POLICE chief has said that officers patrolling the streets of Swindon and Wiltshire should not be routinely armed.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Hedley does not believe the case has been met despite tragedies elsewhere in the country.
The murder of two unarmed WPcs in Manchester revived calls for the police to carry guns, but few forces back such a plan.
Ass Chief Con Hedley said: “I personally wouldn’t want to see all of our police officers armed.
“There is a need for some officers to be armed as we have to protect the public on the very, very few occasions when we encounter people who are armed.
“In an area like Wiltshire however the amount of firearms incidents is very low.
"Our officers would face additional dangers if they were routinely armed and this would mean we would have to put in place additional training and additional security measures.
“There is no need for all of our officers to be issued with firearms.”
Unarmed Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, were shot dead last September while responding to a report of a burglary in Manchester.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, ruled out arming all officers after the killings.
Ass Chief Con Hedley also said officers were suffering fewer assaults and injuries as a result of improvements in training and equipment.
“We have far better protection nowadays with the personal protection equipment, the incapacitatant spray, the body armour and the radio equipment, which makes it easier to call for assistance,” he said.
“Wiltshire is a safe county compared to more urban areas which are more difficult to police and it is not a dangerous place.
“We do go out 24/7 and come across people who want to get involved in fights and want to fight the police.
“We do on occasions, when we are on duty, get hurt.
“Fortunately serious injuries are very rare.”