In the Media

Sir Hugh Orde rejects calls for armed police after Manchester shootings

PUBLISHED September 19, 2012

Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said that an armed force distances police from communities and does not necessarily protect them from harm.

He told Radio 4's Today programme: "Guns don't necessarily solve the problem.

"You only have to look to the American experience. Many colleagues in America are lost without even drawing their guns in close range.

"The clear view of the British police service from top to bottom is we don't want to be armed.

"One of the learning points in Northern Ireland - I had an armed service - was it distances us from communities.

"They don't like approaching officers with guns."

PCs Fiona Bone, 32, and her colleague Nicola Hughes, 23, were unarmed when they were killed on the Hattersley Estate in Greater Manchester.

The pair were responding to reports of a burglary and died in a gun and grenade attack from a single assailant.

Sir Hugh said that policing was sometimes unpredictable and that officers faced risks.

He said: "Sadly it's part of policing. It shows just how extraordinary the job is we ask our frontline officers to do and nine million calls a year are responded to in that way.

He said: "Policing is a risky business.

"As we speak officers will be responding to calls not knowing what they'll get to and not knowing exactly what they'll be dealing with when they arrive, and tragically, on occasion, things go horribly wrong.

He added: "Nicola and Fiona were doing exactly what their community and their chief officer wanted them to do."