Guns And Bobbies

The death of Detective Constable Stephen Oake, an unarmed policeman stabbed last week by a knife-wielding suspect while other unarmed officers struggled to subdue him, raises a provocative question: Why don't British police routinely carry guns? With smuggled guns pouring into inner-city drug gangs and shootings on the rise, some citizens wonder if the venerable tradition of largely unarmed policing is one more sweet anachronism Britain can't afford. "The police have to have something more than they have," says Jo Coupe, a retired sales rep in Leeds.

But opponents are convinced that more extensive arming of police won't...

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