DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Armed police need our protection, too

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Armed police need our protection, too

While British police rightly take pride in being part of a largely unarmed force, specialist gun units are necessary in an increasingly dangerous world.

These firearms officers – permitted, where justified, to use lethal force – do the most difficult of jobs. They routinely risk their lives standing between terrorists or armed criminals and innocent members of the public who might otherwise be harmed.

Highly experienced and scrupulously trained, they are often forced to make split-second, life-or-death decisions in the heat of a terrifying moment.

Of 18,400 firearms operations in the year to March, only ten saw an officer open fire. But one involved the fatal shooting of Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old unarmed black man.

As a result, a Met Police marksman has been charged with murder. Until the full facts emerge in court, we cannot know what happened on September 5 last year.

Police need full confidence that, in all but exceptional cases of malicious intent, the law is firmly on their side (Stock Image)

Still, it is easy to understand the anger of other firearms officers, who fear they could face the threat of legal action if they pull the trigger on duty – when any hesitation could cost their own or other blameless lives.

So we welcome Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s review of ways to give them added legal protection. To do their perilous job, it is not enough for the police to know the public is grateful for their bravery.

They also need full confidence that, in all but exceptional cases of malicious intent, the law is firmly on their side.

Robust over refugees

The 1951 Refugee Convention, which the UK helped draft, was a direct response to the horrors of the Second World War.

Those who drew it up could not have envisaged that seven decades later, tens of thousands of young men would be travelling in small boats from a safe nation to Britain in large part for economic reasons – abusing the idea of what it means to be a refugee.

So we applaud Mrs Braverman’s tough words today in calling for a shake-up of this outdated convention. Elastic interpretations by right-on judges have effectively given migrants carte blanche to arrive illegally and live here permanently.

Mass migration, fuelled by people-trafficking gangs, is a crisis affecting the entire Western world. Suella Braverman (pictured in Washington DC) is right to say what once seemed unsayable

Of course, Mrs Braverman will provoke howls of outrage from the usual suspects – Labour, the Whitehall ‘Blob’, leftie lawyers, activist charities. And changes to the convention could take years to achieve.

But mass migration, fuelled by people-trafficking gangs, is a crisis affecting the entire Western world. Mrs Braverman is right to say what once seemed unsayable.

Let’s get back on track

As arguments rage over the fate of HS2, another story today will strike a grim chord with despairing rail passengers.

Last year alone, long-suffering commuters endured a shocking total of three years’ worth of delays thanks to faulty trains.

When engines are packing up mid-journey, one must wonder how much quality control the train firms put into servicing them.

This is not good enough. It’s bad for the economy and discourages people from using environmentally friendly railways.

Coupled with overcrowding, exorbitant fares and strikes, it’s no wonder rail travel has become a miserable experience.

Rail companies, ministers and unions must confront the mammoth task of repairing public confidence in the network.

After all, for commuters the train is meant to take the strain – not add to it.

What conclusions can be drawn from the news that Labour has hired ex-civil servants in a bid to bolster its preparations for power? 

First, even though the election is a year away, and despite being a policy and personality vacuum, Sir Keir Starmer is all but measuring the curtains in No 10. And however loudly it protests that it is a paragon of impartiality, the Whitehall ‘Blob’ is shamelessly and resolutely anti-Tory.

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