Should rioting arsonists be shot?

  Flak999 13:05 20 Dec 2011

According to The Daily Telegraph a report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary says that rioting arsonists that are attacking commercial premises linked to peoples homes could be shot by the police during any future riots.

The report also goes on to recommend that the use of water cannon and the firing of plastic baton rounds should also be made available in any future situation. A straw poll being taken on the Telegraph website at the time of my writing this indicates that out of 3960 respondents 83.18% (3294) are in favour of police being allowed to shoot rioters!

Given the situation that London and other city's experienced during the summer, is this action an inevitable escalation to the events we all witnessed?

  bob. 13:16 20 Dec 2011

What a good idea and why stop at rioters. Cops could take pot shots at speeding motorists, just think Jellyemee Clarkson does 35 in a 30 zone and BLAM splattered all over the road. Dole scroungers, old people who bleed tax payers by living more than 2 years after retireing and randy teenagers who get girls preggers.

  Cymro. 13:21 20 Dec 2011

There are plenty of things that are wrong with this country. Granted the occasional riot is one of them but to let our police shoot unarmed people will never cure anything. The chances are that it would only encourage the rioters to act in an even more violent way. It would not be too difficult for them to get guns and then where would we be? This is thankfully not North Korea or Syria. Try thinking of something to make the situation better not worse. The fact that most people would welcome such things by the police does not automatically make it a good idea.

  oresome 13:33 20 Dec 2011

It was a shooting by the police that triggered the riots in the first place.

We don't want a kneejerk reaction to an exceptional few days. I'd rather we spend time understanding the underlying causes and dealing with the issues highlighted.

There is little doubt the police response was woefully inadequate in the early stages when it could have been nipped in the bud but I appreciate the logistics required. Better intelligence would have been key to having men and equipment at the ready.

  Flak999 14:26 20 Dec 2011

fourm member

Having read the report, may I draw your attention to Annex C: Advice on the use of force by police in the context of civil unrest and riot by Timothy Otty QC.

In Section 9 Overarching legal principles

He states, "Police officers are entitled to use force in a wide variety of circumstances, and in some circumstances they will be obliged to do so, but any use of force must have a lawful foundation in either statute or the common law, it must be in the pursuit of a lawful objective, and it must be reasonable and no more than is necessary in the circumstances. These constraints reflect the long established requirements of both the common law, domestic legislation regulating police conduct, and the European Convention of Human Rights."

He then goes on to say in, Application of principles to particular factual scenarios In scenario 4 Barricades and missiles being used that water cannon and AEP's (Attenuated energy projectiles, the new name for plastic bullets) could lawfully be used.

However once we get to **Scenario 7 - Arson attacks on commercial buildings with linkage to residential dwellings** he makes it quite clear that the use of firearms with live ammunition could be considered!

In his conclusion he states *"Police officers already have significant powers entitling them to use reasonable force in responding to a breakdown in public order such as that which occurred in August 2011."*

I don't think the Telegraph insinuated that draconian new measures were needed, the filtering of the report as you call it seems to me to be a fair summation of the 123 page original!

  Woolwell 14:39 20 Dec 2011

There does appear from the report to perhaps be a lack of knowledge in the police of the riot control training that the miltary have. RM riot training. This is not new. Other units have been as extensively trained in the past. Note no firearms on display. Having the army on the streets of mainland UK would be too much of a political hot potato though.

  Aitchbee 18:07 20 Dec 2011

As far as Scotland and it's law abiding citizens are concerned, this is a non-starter.

  badgery 18:18 20 Dec 2011

Any newspaper will invariably pander to it's readership, and I suspect many Telegraph readers belong to right wing, successful, types of persons who would happily support 'hang & flog' for any of the great unwashed.

  Forum Editor 18:27 20 Dec 2011

What the police are empowered to do, and what they will actually do are two distinctly different matters.

Under the range of options available to police in specific circumstances, the review states that for arson attacks on a building the use of AEPs and firearms are a possibility. Whether or not they are ever used depends on specific sets of circumstances, and senior officers are well aware that any use of AEPs and/or firearms in such situations would be minutely scrutinised by the media and by the public. They'll avoid doing so unless there's no alternative - such as the risk of serious injury to members of the public or the police, or imminent danger to life.

  Flak999 18:29 20 Dec 2011

fourm member

I would not have thought that a simple poll used in the context of the article in question was attempting to raise a mob!

Also the article was a fair summation of the HMIC report, Just a question as to whether or not the police should shoot rioters who commit arson. Which is one of the options outlined in the report.

I know that you usually like to pedantically argue about How many angels can dance on the head of a pin when it comes to debates such as this, but it's a simple question with a simple answer!

  morddwyd 19:44 20 Dec 2011

Petrol bombing a premises to which living accommodation is attached, and which may reasonably be assumed to be occupied, is clearly a risk to life and the use of live rounds would be permitted under any current rules of engagement.

Whether such use was justified, however, would be the subject of any subsequent enquiry.

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