The price of our safety

The shocking murders of two police officers today serves as a grim but timely reminder of the price which public servants sometimes have to pay for our safety.

Like every other organisation the police service, and the men and women who make it up, sometimes makes mistakes. But every man or woman who puts on a police uniform is doing so to protect the public and taking some degree of risk to their own safety while they protect ours. And the great majority of our police force are ordinary, decent people, doing their best in a job which can sometimes be very difficult.

We have a largely unarmed police force in this country and a survey in 2006 found that 80% of police officers themselves were opposed to routine arming of the police. I am certain that this is the right policy. It still makes me sad to see large numbers of armed officers around Westminster or outside a party conference, even though I fully understand why the actions of terrorists have made this necessary. But the policy, wise and right though it is, can carry a price.

Today we should remember Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, the latest in a long line of police officers - far too long - who have given their lives for our protection, and all those other officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

And we should be proud of them, and of our police force.


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