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12:13pm Tuesday 2nd February 2010
By Matt Watts »
A police watchdog pulled a presentation on how officers target crimes involving firearms because of fears it would glorify gun culture.
Anna Tapsell, chair of Lambeth’s Community Police Consultative Group (CPCG), cancelled a presentation by specialist firearms officers scheduled for its meeting tonight.
She had concerns the presentation could be "misinterpreted" by the public.
Parts of the talk would have involved guns being passed around the audience, and a “shooting gallery” style simulation where people are put in the shoes of a CO19 officer in a crisis situation.
It was designed as a hard-hitting portrayal of the work of police firearms teams.
But a CPCG spokesman said it was felt the simulation could make gun crime seem "like a game".
The eleventh hour decision to cancel the presentation and discussion has angered some members of the CPCG, as gun crime is a key issue for Lambeth.
Gun crime has risen by 40 per cent in Lambeth this financial year, and last month was at its highest rate for at least two years.
A source said: “Lambeth needs to confront its gun crime problem, not push it to one side and say discussing it glorifies it.”
The CPCG spokesman said: "It was felt the presentation would not be suitable.
"Gun crime is serious, it is not a game. We were concerned parts of the presentation could be perceived in the wrong way by people who did not know what to expect."
He said CO19 would be invited again in the future for a discussion about its work.
The discussion of CO19’s role in Lambeth was also considered important by some following concerns that armed officers could be deployed in routine patrols of the borough’s estates.
Police marksmen also shot dead innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell Tube station in 2005 after mistaking him for terror suspect Hussain Osman.
CO19 (SO19) is the totally psychotic armed police swat team whose job it is to confiscate unapproved firearms by force. Famous for destroying house internals, overturning and breaking furniture, punching holes in walls, physically abusing all occupants and killing a few: they basically have carte blanche on mere suspicion.
Central Operations Specialist Firearms Command (CO19)
Introduction to CO19
CO19 is the branch name given to the Specialist Firearm Command branch of the Metropolitan Police Service that provides firearms-related support to our unarmed colleagues. The branch is comprised of a small number of officers who are highly trained and motivated in dealing with all aspects of the criminal use of firearms. Operationally, our branch is here to provide armed support to allow the vast majority of policing activities throughout London to be conducted in the traditional manner by unarmed officers.
Formerly known as SO19, the branch has recently moved into the Central Operations directorate of the organisation but our role within the Service is unchanged. The officer in command of CO19 is Chief Superintendent Bill Tillbrook.
For example the crews for Armed Response Vehicles, teams of Specialist Firearms Officers who deal with pre-planned firearms operations and the Rifle Section, which provides a counter-sniper capability.
The unit provides courses and refresher training for all firearms officers and more than 2,000 officers attend training courses every eight weeks.
Undertakes research and projects on behalf of the Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations and the Met's Firearms Policy Forum.
Firearms enquiries teams, which handle firearms and shotgun licensing, are now part of CO19.
a nice compendium of tales from across the pond
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