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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Public wants armed officers aboard trains

Evening Standard Should Armed police board trains? featureErm, how many passengers exactly?

The Standard had a large feature yesterday saying "Passengers today called for full-time armed police to patrol trains in the ongoing battle against suicide bombers".

I would love to know how many people they asked in their "straw poll of commuters" to come up with this claim, as this is not mentioned at all in the feature.

Personally, I'm not too wild about having armed police in the carriages of tube trains or any trains for that matter. I suppose I've got used to seeing armed police around more now, but I'm far happier seeing them in larger stations out in the open. Can you imagine the damage that could be done on a packed commuter carriage if the train suddenly jerked or came to an abrupt halt (which every commuter knows happens a lot of the time), if an armed police officer was on it?

On the New York subway, you're not supposed to
drink out of open containers, for goodness sake, I imagine for the damage you might cause if a hot drink is spilt on someone. I'd rather have a drink accidentally spilt on myself, than a barrel of a gun accidentally pointing at me.

Anyway, enough of me. Doing a bit of searching, I found that according to some research which actually lists how many people were polled, that I'm not exactly in the minority:

YouGov in conjunction with the Daily Mirror & GMTV carried out online interviews with 1,671 British adults from July 22 - 24th and a similar question was asked, with the following results:

Should we have armed police patrolling trains and buses?

Should 49%

Should not 39%

Don't know 13%

(Not quite sure why the figures don't add up to exactly 100% though????? - Statistics never were my strong point)

Contrarily, though, when asked:

Should all police officers in Britain be armed?

Should 33%

Should not 59%

Don't know 8%

The highlights of the research are here.

Fortunately, it seems like the police actually have better ideas than patrolling trains with arms. The Standard article, concluded by pointing out that a police source said "We do want to maintain an increased presence and vigilance around the transport network and sustain the present level for some time to come."

A greater emphasis is being placed on hidden tactics to disrupt "hostile surveillance" by terrorists on the Tube network. More people are being brought in to monitor CCTV cameras at key stations and more covert officers will work with the CCTV watchers on the ground. "We want to try to pick up people planning an attack before they do it," a source said

; Posted by Annie Mole Tuesday, August 16, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon