Given that the riots this summer - which started literally in my backyard - began because the police shot someone, you'd think that the obvious conclusion would be that they shouldn't be so trigger happy. On the contrary though the Inspectorate of Constabulary reports that they weren't trigger happy enough. Apparently the riots could have been nipped in the bud if only they had been more willing to use rubber bullets - and even live ammunition. Worse still the top coppers private club claims that they don't need any new laws to make this possible - they claim they are already within their rights to shoot 'arsonists'.
I'm reminded of a conversation with my dad shortly after the riots:
Bear in mind he's a lifelong labour-man (with a small l these days) but he's also 84 and lived most of his life in the homogeneous affluent white working class hinterland of London - so you can maybe forgive him if his social attitudes are occasionally a bit conservative ( but always with a small c). Indeed when he spoke about some of the disturbances in his own area he did talk about copycat 'yobs'. But when we spoke about how it had all started here in Tottenham - he was amazingly spot-on: "Stupid police shot someone they didn't need to AGAIN. They bungled dealing with local people AGAIN. And then they lied to cover their tracks AGAIN."
And now the same police want more powers and more guns....