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Unintended Consequences 2

An unintended consequence of the dismantling of civilian ownership of firearms in the United Kingdom has been the loss of expertise in gun handling by British police services resulting in an epidemic of 'accidental' discharges by officers who are incapable of exercising even the most rudimentary safety procedures.


A British newspaper has recently documented that the greatest danger to British police officers comes not from criminals but from the few 'highly trained, expert' officers in Britain that are actually armed because they fire their weapons more often by accident than on purpose – and their victims are other police officers. Negligent discharges, even the few that are reported because too many see them occur for them to be covered up, are embarrassing and happen regularly within all British police forces in spite of the on-going refrain that their firearms training is the best that money can buy.


What is as bad, or worse, is that incompetent police officers who are unable to control their trigger finger are treated by an equally incompetent police hierarchy in the same manner as paedophiles are treated by the church. They are seldom disciplined and the “investigations’ are self-serving and designed to ‘cover their own backside’.


To compound the problem even further we have remarks like this, attributed to the UK Home Secretary, Ms Jacqui Smith:

“This demonstrates the dangers that police officers face on our behalf.”

Apparently no-one thought to remind her that these dangers are self-inflicted.


In Britain, and increasingly in Australia, ‘Accidental discharges’ - when committed by a civilian  licence holder, are prosecuted to the fullest extent the law allows with draconian penalties inflicted. Licensed gun owners are vilified and denigrated by the police and the media in a vicious, one-sided campaign even as a similar offence is excused by police on the grounds that it was a ‘mistake’.


Related Links:

Police officer shot dead during training in Manchester

Senior police defend training methods despite officer's death