Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, told BBC Radio Cornwall today that gun licence holders could be the solution to defending rural areas from terrorists. She’s going to take the idea to the Chief Constable….
“Let’s officially have a look at that” she told Laurence Reed of BBC Radio Cornwall’s lunchtime phone-in show “and see what the implications would be of that. Let’s unpick it a bit”
After talking about lack of police funding in general she admitted that a Tunisia style attack on Perranporth beach would not be responded to all that quickly, Ms Hernandez responded to a caller by saying
“We have bases in Camborne and Bodmin for armed response”
“It’s nice to speak to you as a firearms licence holder”the PCC told a caller “Devon and Cornwall has one of the highest levels of firearms licence holders in the country. We have 50,000 – that’s how many guns we’ve got around. We’re a highly armed community”
Sara, a licensed gun holder from Bude asked “if there should ever be a Terrorist attack what happens if I defend myself using my guns?”
“I’d love you to write in officially to me about it so we can talk to the Chief Constable about it. This could be part of our solution to issues in remote geographic places”” said the head of Devon and Cornwall Police.
The BBC presenter was shocked : “What vigilantism?”
“Let’s officially have a look at that and see what the implications would be” Ms Hernandez saisd
“Your not seriously suggesting that people should take to the streets with their own guns?”
“I’d be really interested to explore that with the Chief Constable”
The caller explained she used to be in the Territorial Army. “I’m spot on with a pistol” she said.
“She’s not messing about. Don’t go down to Bude!” joked Ms Hernandez
She continued “I think the reality is Laurence , if your community was coming under attack I think people would do all sorts of things to defend their community. Without even thinking”
“I can’t believe the Chief Constanble Shaun Sawyer would entertain the idea of the public defending themselves with firearms in Bude or anywhere else” Reed reacted
“I’m sure he wouldn’t want to entertain it but these are times that are challenging and I would like to have an official response on that myself”
Tonight she got a swift answer..
Devon and Cornwall Police have had to release the following statement tonight in response to the “confusion” caused…
DCC Paul Netherton said: “Quite obviously a marauding terrorist is the most challenging of circumstances, the police response requires significant professionalism and training as well as firearms capability.
“During these incidents, highly trained police firearms officers and Special Forces will be deployed to protect our communities.
“We would only use the normal military in response to a national security threat level and they would be deployed to free up police resources from their security duties.
“Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms, not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask.
“Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell.
“Having said that, I accept that British policing will require an uplift in resources in response to the unprecedented threats we are currently facing.
“This includes additional operationally firearms capability as well as an investment in our local policing which does so much to identify and prevent people from committing terrorist acts.
“In light of the recent terrorist attacks and the threats that the UK are facing, we have already reviewed our resources and are working with other agencies to ensure that we have the capability to meet these threats.”