YEP Letters: August 18

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Your views on arming police officers...

Most officers in West Yorkshire believe police in the county ought to remain largely unarmed a survey published this week has suggested. The survey - carried out in July - saw 1566 West Yorkshire officers and 5961 members of the public - all but 721 of whom are from the county - respond with views about the potential arming of the police service. The overwhelming majority of those surveyed by the Police Federation think Taser electro-shock weapons ought to be issued to front-line officers employed by the region’s largest force. Of the West Yorkshire police officers who responded 65 per cent wanted to remain largely unarmed but only 34 per cent of the public had the same opinion. The force currently employs around 4500 officers fewer than 200 of whom are trained to handle and use firearms. We asked YEP readers for their views and here’s what some of them said on social media..

Richard Everson

As it is now - it is fine.

If you arm all police then you will get a criminal arms race. I cannot understand why people say armed. Most beat police have stated they do not want the responsibility, and in the main our policing is excellent.

Steve Woods

They need to be armed.

The city is becoming a much more dangerous place and we would feel safer with this implied. They can’t do anything with a taser and a baton can they?

Ade Turner

I would suggest that officers improve their empty hand skills first and foremost. If all officers are routinely armed, be it tasers or firearms, they will only be more tool dependant, which will result in more officers injured or killed.

Clint Porteus

Armed with small side arm, like German or American police and go back to smart uniforms with standards instead of trying to look like the SAS, leave that to the army.

Valerie Wagstaff

Unarmed, if officers want to be armed they can apply to join the Armed Response Unit, guns shouldn’t be forced on officers who wouldn’t be comfortable with them.

Shaz Fawcett

Criminals are already walking round with guns and other weapons but I would say not all should be armed, maybe they should be armed with tasers that’s about it.

David Robinson

Armed, seven day wonder then would be forgotten about.

Someone running at an armed policeman with a knife would maybe think twice.

How many police would be alive today if they’d been armed?

James Matthew Ramsden

All armed with taser, but an increase of armed officers- not all of them!

Ian Hall

Armed and ready to act! It’s becoming a more and more dangerous job.

With a gun you’re more likely to stop a lunatic using a car as a weapon then you are with a taser. The risk has become greater so the protection should follow.

Dave Baker

Unarmed but an increase of specialist armed units. If every cop is armed then so will every crook.

Brian Eric

I think the police should decide operational matters based on risk assessments.

Alan Vayle

No deterrent or respect equals more crimes, it doesn’t matter how many surveys are carried out.

Padraic Gillard

Armed. In the times we live, a bobby with a stick is out of date.

Leon Virr

I’d be happier with the police armed. Guns come into the country with criminals. Who else is going to stop them? Mr pc with him taser gun,yeah right

Adrian Milburn

I think the should all have tasers at least.

Swiss Cheese, via website

The UK is relatively on its own on this topic, in that we’re the pretty much the last country not to have its general population of police armed.

The theory being is that we’re policed by consent, not by force, or the threat of force. I see both sides to the argument. Would I feel safer if police on my streets were armed? No, but I see why some people might think that way.

Would it stop a terror attack like those seen in London and Manchester? No, very unlikely.

I would suggest that most front-line officers don’t want to be armed for a few reasons: 1: It’s yet more kit to carry around, on top of an already leg-buckling amount of kit.

2: In a tussle, it’s another weapon that can be used accidentally (or deliberately if it’s snatched from the hands of an officer).

3: It can appear very intimidating when seeing armed police and cause alarm where it needn’t be, typically by good, law abiding citizens. 4: No normal, average, level-headed human (which includes police) wants to severely injure someone, which is very likely to happen with a gun shot.

5: Practically speaking, the paperwork involved in such incidents would absolutely cripple the service and most likely make it unsustainable.

hacked off, via website

Police armed response officers, I believe, have to undergo strenuous and regular training/testing to ensure their ability is of the highest level.

If all police are armed that would mean that they would regularly (monthly) be out of action whilst these checks take place.

I understand London alone has 2,800 armed officers and that hasn’t caused any less shootings/stabbings/acid attacks and although they have managed to curb a couple of terrorist attacks (that we know about) they have unfortunately still happened.

Loiner 71, via website

One in three want to be armed though which is a significant number of officers that feel at risk, plus if you did arm the one in three that would massively increase the amount of armed officers we have.

The world has change in a very small amount of time and the risk and type of danger have also changed. Of the 65% who said no, where were they located, out of town or inner city, I am sure there is a statistic that has been missed here, where risk is higher.

Also I know comparisons will be made with other countries where armed police kill a significantly more amount of citizens, but in countries like this gun availability and gun culture is very different to here in the UK so those comparisons don’t really ring true.

Plus the police are there to protect us, what they want to do and what they need to do are two very different things, all our jobs have a certain things like this, yes this is a extreme part of a job role but is it essential?

Supporting world’s poorest

Gertrude Asumadu, Youth Ambassador, ONE Leeds CentraL, Leeds.

this Saturday August 19 is World Humanitarian Day, a chance to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service.

It is also a day to remind us what more must be done. This week’s deadly mudslides in Sierra Leone have highlighted the daily suffering experienced by millions and the immense challenges that remain to make our planet a fairer place for all.

Whether it was the NHS workers who travelled to West Africa to fight Ebola or the British Fire and Rescue Services who are currently travelling around the world to offer a hand when disaster strikes, I’m proud of the life-saving role the UK plays as the world’s first responder to humanitarian disasters.

As a Youth Ambassador for the ONE Campaign, I believe passionately in the UK playing its part in supporting countries in crisis. This year, I’ve been raising awareness of the importance of our UK aid budget and how it provides long term support for the world’s poorest - particularly with programmes focused on education. The British public are generous and willing to help others, as shown by the staggering amount of money raised by the recent DEC appeal in Yemen, and I hope this continues. This World Humanitarian Day, I hope that the local community, including our local MP Hilary Benn, will join me in celebrating British aid workers and stand with them as they support the world’s poorest.

Look out for signs of slavery

Steve Oversby, Director, Barnardo’s East Region

Recent headlines have raised awareness that modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK is much more prevalent than previously thought, with cases affecting every large town and city in the country, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

With 300 live police operations and victims as young as 12 the figures show the shocking scale of modern slavery in the UK.

It’s important to remember that traffickers do not care how young their victims are and that trafficked children are some of the most vulnerable children in this country. They are often moved away from their family and friends, only to be exploited for someone else’s gain.

Barnardo’s has provided support to children of all ages who have been trafficked. They might have been sexually abused, used as cheap labour or domestic servants, or have been forced to commit crimes.

It’s vital that professionals can spot the signs of trafficking and keep children safe. And we would echo the NCA and ask that members of the public and look out for signs of slavery including visible injuries, a distressed appearance and any indication someone is being controlled by another person.

We need to stay in single market

Kamran Hussain, Yorkshire and Humber Liberal Democrats Brexit spokesperson

Real wages fell by 0.5% in the three months to June 2017, compared with a year earlier, figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed.

Average weekly earnings increased by 2.1%, but with inflation standing at 2.6% real earnings still fell by 0.5%.

This is a direct consequence of the higher inflation we have seen since the EU referendum.

We’re not talking about hypothetical future damage to the UK economy, but real costs experienced by real people now. Instead of the land of milk and honey promised by Brexiteers, we’re seeing falling wages, higher prices and rising rail fares. This reinforces the need to protect living standards and jobs by staying in the single market and customs union.

Moan about something else

Chris Sharp, Leeds 25

What is it about people that makes them doubt the voting of everything from Brexit to the last general election?

Nearly every letters page has some Remainer saying the leavers are stupid or they are changing their mind . Someone came up with the enlightening observation that if more people had voted Labour we would have a Labour government . Very deep thinking gone into that one! They didn’t and we haven’t. We are still leaving the EU, fact. Think of something else to moan about and give the majority who didn’t vote Labour and didn’t vote Remain a rest!

Let us know what you think

THE Yorkshire Evening Post wants you to share your views with other readers.

To join the debate email or write to Readers’ Letters, Yorkshire Evening Post, No 1 Leeds, 26 Whitehall Road, Leeds LS12 1BE.

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