Monday, August 14, 2006

Does he really need all of that?

An armed police officer patrols outside Heathrow airport's terminal 4 in London, August 14, 2006. Britain scaled down its security alert overnight and eased a ban on airline cabin baggage imposed last week after police said they had foiled a plot to blow up airliners using liquid explosives disguised as drinks. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

Armed British police officers, at left and center, patrol Terminal 4 of London's Heathrow Airport, Monday Aug. 14, 2006. The British government on Monday downgraded its terror threat level from critical to severe, saying intelligence suggested that an attack was not imminent. While the government said passengers would now be permitted to carry a single bag onto planes, authorities at London Heathrow and other major airports said the ban on carry-on luggage would continue for another day. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Does anyone expect an officer to start using a sub-machine gun in a crowded airport? Now members of the Firearms Unit or a counter-terrorist team are trained to fire their submachine guns in controlled bursts, but wouldn't one worry about the control a street cop would have? Now, I'm sure they are trained to use the MP5; otherwise they would not be one of the few allowed to carry it, so it is probably not a real concern. And I suppose a flashlight might come in handy in dark places, while a red-dot sight would help with accuracy. Civilians probably feel safer with them around, even if they would not be able to offer real protection against someone who really wanted to do serious harm against the public.

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