A debate over arming police has been sparked by the killing of two officers in Greater Manchester.

  • 19 September 2012

A debate over whether UK police should carry guns to protect themselves has been sparked by the killing of two officers in Greater Manchester.

PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes were killed when gunshots were fired as they investigated an incident in Mottram on Tuesday.

The families of other officers injured in action say it's time for police to be armed but Sir Hugh Orde, who represents Britain's top officers, says carrying guns is not the answer.

Sir Hugh, who's president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "Guns don't necessarily solve the problem. You only have to look to the American experience."

AMERICA

In lots of other countries around the world, like America, officers carry guns regardless of what their called out on.

There are more than 150,000 police officers serving in the UK but only a small number of specially trained people carry weapons.

Police chiefs in Britain believe that having armed officers on the streets would make them police less approachable.

Sir Hugh added: "It distances us from communities. They don't like approaching officers with guns."

"The clear view of the British police service from top to bottom is we don't want to be armed", he added.

But Ash Rathband, whose father David was shot and blinded by Newcastle gunman Raoul Moat, disagrees. In response to Tuesday's shootings he said: "It's time for police to be armed in my opinion. Yet again another awful incident."

Since 1945 Seventy six police officers have lost their lives while on duty in the UK.

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