Nesbitt backs armed police service

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Nesbitt backs armed police service

The Ulster Unionist spokesperson on the Policing Board, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has backed the continued policy of arming every PSNI officer. The affirmation follows the publication of a Policing Board report which states the PSNI should consider the policy in its future planning.

Mike Nesbitt said:

“The Policing Board is not recommending that a single officer should be disarmed today, tomorrow, next week or next year. Rather, I see this as a challenge to all of us regarding the sort of society we want. Would I like one where it was not necessary for all police officers to regularly carry firearms? Of course! Are we there yet? Absolutely not!  

“I think it is healthy to remind ourselves why officers need to carry lethal weapons, to review how often those weapons are deployed and to aspire to better days ahead.

“The fact remains that our police officers not only have to face armed and violent criminal gangs but also live under threat both on and off-duty, as was seen recently in the attacks in Strabane and Londonderry and the threats made in the New IRA statement issued to mark the New Year. Police officers have a right to defend themselves and they are entitled to have the means to do so.”