Arming our police would make this country more dangerous for everyone
We often take police officers for granted. Every day, we expect them to go into dangerous, volatile, unknown situations to protect us, and they do so without question.
The shooting of two police officers this week highlights how vulnerable and courageous they can be.
PC Nicola Hughes, 23, and PC Fiona Bone, 32, died while responding to a report of a burglary in Mottram, Greater Manchester, on Tuesday morning.
A grenade was also allegedly used in the attack and a post-mortem examination revealed that both died of gunshot wounds.
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Dale Cregan, 29, has appeared in court accused of murdering them.
The tragedy has raised the question of whether or not officers should carry firearms rather than just having a small plastic baton for protection.
Every time officers are killed or injured, the issue of arming officers is raised.
But this is just a knee-jerk reaction.
If our police officers were all armed, it would lead to criminals following suit, more guns on the streets and an ever-escalating arms race.
We have dedicated and trained firearms officers who can respond to incidents.
Even if these police officers had been armed, there is nothing to say this tragedy could have been prevented.
They would not have expected the confrontation and it is unlikely they would have had time to react.
If we were to arm officers, I expect there would be more incidents of suspects or innocent people being shot by being caught in the crossfire.
The firearms teams have specialist training and it's unlikely that, if every officer was given a gun, they'd have the ability to use it as well or as accurately.
The system we have in place where officers can call for the firearms team is usually sufficient because they respond to incidents swiftly.
Arming officers may also lead to more criminals using firearms against officers
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said there would be "considerable risks" to giving every police officer a gun.
He said: "I think if, in an instant, we were to arm our police to the teeth so they become separate from the public, that would be quite a big change, which would have considerable risks.
"I think it is the kind of thing you need to look at very carefully and certainly not, even though I know emotions are running high, in an instant way after this terrible, terrible tragedy."
I may not agree with Mr Clegg on much, but on this I believe he is absolutely right.
There is no way of knowing if having officers armed could have prevented this incident but by arming officers there could be many more deaths in the future.
Criminals may shoot first and think later if they believe an officer is armed.
The public will be safer if officers are not armed and we leave the firearms to the specially trained teams who are experienced enough to handle them.