A TEXAN patrol officer who became the first foreigner to join the British police is to resign after three years because he says policing is too dangerous here compared with America. Ben Johnson, a 6ft 4in former paratrooper nicknamed Slim, has written to his chief constable asking to carry a Glock 17 handgun on his routine beat in Reading. He said officers are dying unnecessarily because they are less well equipped and trained to protect themselves and the public than their American counterparts.[snipola]
This is the part that really gets me.
In America, officers spend weeks learning how to cope with armed incidents. But in Britain, Johnson said, he was never shown how to handle or unload a firearm or told how to respond to an armed robbery. “Officers spend more time learning about how to process paperwork than dealing with violent situations. We are trained more like social workers than police officers."
“The training I received in Britain in dealing with armed incidents was virtually non-existent. It consisted of a 30-minute lecture from a firearms officer who said: ‘If you see the business end of a gun or anyone holding a gun . . . turn, run and get away as quickly as possible’.”
This apparent complacency was reinforced at his swearing-in ceremony when a senior Thames Valley officer told him and colleagues that they would not face the sort of dangerous incidents portrayed on The Bill, the television programme.
“I was surprised that he said we wouldn’t come into harm’s way. This went against everything I had learnt during my career,” said Johnson.
It was an incident earlier this year that first caused Johnson to consider handing in his warrant card. He was on plainclothes CID duty when he was called to the Royal Berkshire hospital in Reading to interview a victim of domestic violence.
A woman had jumped out of a first-floor window to escape her violent boyfriend, paralysing her from the waist down. The boyfriend, a member of a drug gang, was already wanted by the police for attempted murder, after shooting someone in the back of the head in London.
Johnson and other plainclothes officers who went to the hospital were alerted that the boyfriend had telephoned to say he was coming to see her. They also received a warning that he might be armed.
According to Johnson, he wanted to arrest the man when he arrived, but was ordered by a senior officer not to do so because of the risk. The suspect escaped and it was two days before he was arrested
“That was the first time I’d ever let someone wanted for attempted murder simply walk away from me,” said Johnson. “It went against everything I knew. I thought it was my duty to arrest these people.
Not to much to add to that, is there? Government willfully ignoring life and death of citizens and police for purely ideological reasons. Not much else to do but quit.
“It seems that in Britain ordinary officers are instructed not to engage with dangerous criminals. But if police officers can’t engage with them, who can?” He is critical of Charles Clarke, the home secretary, who says he can see “no evidence” that arming officers would reduce the number of police fatalities. “With all respect to the home secretary, he has never answered a 999 call,” said Johnson.