POLICE: A smile alone will not suffice

Graham Dark
Graham Dark
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I read with interest Mr Dalley’s objection to tasers and his impression of life in the East End of London when the Krays strutted the streets.

I was a sergeant at Bethnal Green at that time and the reason the Krays and others were able to engage in criminal activities for so long was partly because we were often under equipped.

Spalding is not a violent town but policing any area is so unpredictable

A truncheon, a whistle and a smile is ineffective when facing a sawn-off shotgun or the ‘razor boys’ wearing flat caps with razors in the peaks or carrying guns.

If he thinks we were managing to keep law and order with a smile with these type of criminals able to rob and intimidate the community for so long, he was in a different East End to where I walked the streets for four years.

It was like a war zone and while it was satisfying to have successes working crime cars, our ability to make arrests or protect the pubic was often restricted by the fact that the criminals were better armed and very dangerous.

Following years of witnessing violent crime, I had the pleasure of being on duty on the day both Krays were arrested and locked in the cells.

Every police officer regrets having to carry all the cumbersome equipment they now need, but if we as members of the community need urgent assistance, we will all want officers to arrive with more than a smile.

Spalding is not a violent town but policing any area is so unpredictable that it is reassuring to see officers well prepared to protect the public should the need arise.

As a Metropolitan officer, if I made the right call, the response was immediate and back-up was fast and not far away. Lone county officers do not always have that luxury, hence the need to be well-trained and equipped with items such as tasers.

There have been tragic accidents, but Mr Dalley fails to take any account of the loss of life and serious assaults that have been prevented by the proper use of this equipment.

His comment that he would not like to approach an officer equipped as such for fear of being shot is not realistic.

Providing he does not creep up from behind and say boo, he is in no danger and would, in fact, find chatting with an officer committed to serving and protecting the public a worthwhile experience.