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Scary. - helen-louise
Holy crap, police with guns at Waterloo. And I don't mean little handguns like American police carry in holsters. These were big, fuck-off, two-handed RIFLES carried IN THEIR HANDS. Edit: I've been informed they were sub-machine guns. This is not an improvement.

Do Not Want. Especially Do Not Want every day between now & the end of the Olympics. I don't understand how people can feel safe when there are guns waving around.

...and this is even, or ESPECIALLY, after visiting a gun range in Florida last October & learning how to shoot. I was taught in my gun training to never point a gun at someone unless I intended to shoot them. But these policemen were standing at the top of an escalator. They were pointing the guns towards the floor at a 45 degree angle... so "unintentionally" aiming them at the people on the escalator.

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Tags: , ,
Current Location: in a taxi, Great Queen St, London
Current Mood: scared frightened

16 comments or Leave a comment
redbird From: redbird Date: 2nd May 2012 14:34 (UTC) (Link)
The scary thing is realizing I'm almost used to it, because I've seen them so damned often in the railroad terminal (I think these are soldiers rather than city or railroad police, but that doesn't feel like much difference). I hope you never reach that point.
baratron From: baratron Date: 2nd May 2012 17:46 (UTC) (Link)
Learning how to shoot meant I stopped being afraid of guns.

Now I'm only afraid of PEOPLE with guns.

I'm not sure how this is an improvement.

I grew up as a nice, middle-class kid who was taught to respect the police - but not fear them, because they're on the side of law and order. Increasingly, as I get more left-wing and political, and start to recognise myself in various minorities, police are getting scarier.
xiphias From: xiphias Date: 2nd May 2012 18:33 (UTC) (Link)
Also, the police are starting to get more and more frightening to white-appearing people. They've ALWAYS been the bad guys to obvious minorities.
quiet000001 From: quiet000001 Date: 2nd May 2012 14:40 (UTC) (Link)
I think I'd rather British police with rifles than American cops with handguns. The standard for being allowed to carry a weapon in the UK seems to be somewhat higher... There's plenty of idiots here in police uniforms who probably shouldn't be allowed a water gun, let alone anything else.
From: pir Date: 2nd May 2012 14:55 (UTC) (Link)
Rifles? The only time I see people in London carrying rifles are the Army guards around Buckingham Palace and other things in that area (there's a barracks and a few other buildings in that part of London too) with standard issue assault rifles.

Do you mean sub machine guns? The police at Buckingham Palace, Westminster and sometimes Heathrow and other airports (depending on current threat level) patrol with SMGs (I usually see them in pairs, one with a holstered pistol the other also with an SMG) like these:

I've seen references to airport police having cut down (carbine) assault rifles (like the smaller version here: http://cnspecial.com/UploadFiles/201112/20111219011806734.jpg ) but I've never seen them. If they've started deploying full sized assault rifles at train stations I'd be very puzzled as to why.

I don't like armed police being around, if only because they think they need them to be openly around (the Met's history with shootings not withstanding).
mjl From: mjl Date: 2nd May 2012 15:37 (UTC) (Link)
Having been through Waterloo earlier, they are, as you suggest, in pairs, one with a pistol and one with an SMG. They are transport police.

According to Wikipedia and the links from that page, they have 9mm SIG Sauer pistols and LMT Defender semi-automatic carbines.

I also find having them wandering around with guns more unsettling than reassuring.

Edit: Having looked up more stuff, I'm not sure that isn't a rifle...

Edited at 2012-05-02 15:48 (UTC)
From: pir Date: 2nd May 2012 15:59 (UTC) (Link)
Technically it's a machine gun not a rifle but that's more pedantry than anything else. The differences between a carbine machine gun and an SMG are mostly technicalities, too.

Carbine machine guns, even semi-automatic rather than full auto, still seems a somewhat odd choice for patrolling in stations... especially for transport police who haven't had firearms training until recently.

The government said they would "not be a daily event to see armed officers at stations." and I'm not seeing much beyond hand waving with no numbers for their justification:
xiphias From: xiphias Date: 2nd May 2012 18:36 (UTC) (Link)
I thought a machine gun was a crewed weapon -- my impression was that a submachine gun used pistol ammunition, and assault rifles and the new battle rifles used rifle ammunition, but machine guns used the stuff that you can only used in a mount.

I mean, as long as we're being pedantic.

Also, I'm getting my information from things like Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2020, and other roleplaying games, so my accuracy is not guaranteed.
From: pir Date: 2nd May 2012 20:26 (UTC) (Link)
It's rarely that clear cut in the real world.

Machine guns can be static or portable. One person or more, particularly if you're talking about light machine guns.
SMGs use pistol ammunition but various weapons can be chambered for pistol ammo or rifle ammo so which is it as a whole?
Strictly speaking "machine guns" are full auto, yet there are semi-auto and burst only versions of many of them.

The categories blur into each other. It's very clearly so when you read about the US definition of "assault rifle" that they tried to use for a ban and all the subtle tweaks and loopholes the Americans have gone through to get around it.
baratron From: baratron Date: 2nd May 2012 16:27 (UTC) (Link)
See, I thought it was a sub-machine gun, but I didn't think even police were "allowed" to carry sub-machine guns IN THEIR HANDS! In a shoulder holster, maybe.

The pair I saw both had the same sort of gun, but maybe they were temporarily separated from their partner/s with pistols.

The main reason it was so damned unsettling is that I was taught in my gun training to never point a gun at someone unless I intended to shoot them. But these policemen were standing at the top of an escalator. They were pointing the guns downwards... so unintentionally aiming them at the people on the escalator.
From: pir Date: 2nd May 2012 16:44 (UTC) (Link)
As has been pointed out, in a station they'd be British Transport Police so they may not follow the same guidelines as the Met (and the Met doesn't always have them in pairs like that but it means one of the pair has their hands free).

Police carry SMGs every day in London at Buckingham Palace, Palace of Westminster, etc. They usually have a strap so they're not supporting the entire weight all the time but you still hold them in place. SMGs aren't carried in a holster like a pistol would be, it's not practical for something that long.

I believe all firearms, including SMGs, carried by British police are semi-automatic (and some web searching backs this belief up), it's only the armed forces that have fully automatic weapons, you might find them guarding military sites and other locations like Buckingham Palace.

Yes, in that situation they should be pointing them at the floor, not down an escalator. The supporting straps sometimes make this harder to do but they still shouldn't be doing that.
baratron From: baratron Date: 2nd May 2012 17:49 (UTC) (Link)
Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster (and Downing Street) seem like places that need a high level of protection.

Waterloo Station at 2.30pm on a random Wednesday afternoon does not.

Still, I fundamentally trust British Transport Police more than I trust the Met - couldn't say for certain why, except that members of the BTP are way, way friendlier. I hope it was just a training exercise.
alexmc From: alexmc Date: 2nd May 2012 15:43 (UTC) (Link)
Someone else on my friends list expressed dismay at seeing police with sub machine guns near Marble Arch.... :-(
bethanthepurple From: bethanthepurple Date: 2nd May 2012 16:25 (UTC) (Link)
Police in the local stations here have them. I DO NOT LIKE anyone getting to hold something that can make another person dead with great ease.
From: artremis Date: 2nd May 2012 16:51 (UTC) (Link)
is scary.
I had to change my route my Parents very close to your school last friday because of the siege (think it was a man in an upstairs office building claiming to have a bomb) in Tottenham Court Road. There were mostly PCSOs standing at the tape barriers being helpful and re-directing people but there were proper Police with Guns just inside the taped off area ...

We also get them very visibly in Brighton when ever there's a Party Conference (which is understandable given the history - but the non-fly zone on the beach resulting in guns getting pointed at people flying kites seem a bit much)
xiphias From: xiphias Date: 2nd May 2012 18:38 (UTC) (Link)
. . . I wonder how the police would react to having that "pointing firearms down the escalator" thing politely pointed out to them . . .
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