We need intelligence, not police with guns

Simon Jenkins in the Evening Standard, ‘… From all I read about the Paris attack, the principal damage was done before the police arrived. Even when they did, firepower was not the issue. The issue was surprise. After each such incident, there is the same catalogue of woe. Clues were missed, warnings ignored, movements not traced, the wrong people persecuted and culprits left free. There were “failures of intelligence”, left, right and centre … The suicide massacre has certainly given new horror to urban terrorism, beyond anything tried by the Palestinians or the IRA. But there is no cure for it other than prior information and prevention, and perhaps not bombing and invading Muslim states.

… I do not feel reassured by seeing London police carrying pistols and sub-machine guns daily in central London, as nowhere else in Europe. What use is a Heckler and Koch in a crowded London station, other than to show off a boy’s toy?

… Curiously, the one thing in London that does reassure me is the sight of a lone constable on the street, observing, chatting to the public, collecting information, alert to something amiss. He is doing my “awareness” for me. Police in pairs, one of them told me, are probably just discussing overtime. I know beat policing is “inefficient” in fighting crime but not in the primary role of public reassurance. click here.