SIX hundred new armed officers are being trained for anti-terrorist warfare in the city of London, the Metropolitan Police has announced. This will bring the total number of armed officers in the capital to 2,800. There are also 5,000 soldiers specially trained to deal with terrorist attacks in London – as a response to last year’s terrorist massacres in Paris.
Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said yesterday, ‘My firearms officers are our heroes – we expect them to run towards a terrorist attack and take action to confront and stop that threat.’
Police gunmen are being trained to use automatic weapons and to walk over civilian casualties, leaving them to their fate, so as not to waste time, to go forward to confront terrorists to dispatch them with shots to the head. They will be operating alongside the army. That there will be ‘friendly fire’ deaths is obvious.
Two videos, one by the FBI and one by the British police, were issued in December giving advice to people about what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. The video from the FBI is entitled ‘Run, Hide, Fight: Surviving an Active Shooter Event’ and advises that should anyone find themselves in the middle of a ‘shooter event’ they should first of all run away if there is an escape path or hide if escape is not possible. If your life is in danger and these two options are unavailable, the FBI recommends that people fight, using physical aggression and ‘improvised weapons’.
The video issued by the UK National Police Chiefs’ Council differs significantly from the FBI’s in that it instructs people to ‘run, hide, tell’ if they are caught up in a terrorist gun attack. The advice to ‘fight’ is dropped. The British video expresses a real fear of the working class by the ruling class. It does not urge workers to fight back, just to hide and wait for the state to come to the rescue, and possibly mistakenly kill you in the process, with ‘friendly fire’ as the bullets fly.
The message is you must stoically accept your fate. On no account must people defend themselves. In fact, the British state has a history of being very casual about the lives of its citizens, especially at the hands of the armed police. The classic case is that of Jean Charles de Menezes, the young Brazilian who was killed by anti-terror police with a number of shots to the head at Stockwell Tube Station.
No police officers were prosecuted for his murder, and the police commander, Cressida Dick, who gave the kill order, was rewarded by being promoted to national counter-terrorism chief, before she retired to become a special adviser to the Foreign Office.
The Met commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said on her retirement: ‘Cressida Dick has been a fantastic leader in the Metropolitan Police and takes on some of the most difficult roles in policing. She is a role model for women across the service.’
The latest case of a police killing is that of Jermaine Baker who was shot dead by armed police near Wood Green crown court on 11 December while he was allegedly asleep in his car. A policeman has been arrested, and there is an ongoing investigation. This minimal action could have ‘massive ramifications’ for armed police officers, the Metropolitan Police Federation chair, Ken Marsh, has said. He added that London’s armed officers would ‘consider very, very carefully if they would still carry blue permits and carry firearms’ if their colleague was charged.
He added: ‘We are talking about police officers who carry firearms by choice and are looking to be backed up by the government for doing this. Otherwise, if they are out in the streets in a Paris-style scenario, they don’t want to think if they are going to be prosecuted.’
The anti-terror police want immunity from prosecution and there is no doubt that they will get it. Workers through their trade unions must organise workers’ defence squads to defend their areas against terrorist attacks and also attacks by the capitalist state. In fact, the only solution to terrorist attacks is to drive imperialism out of the Middle East and to get rid of capitalism at home by overthrowing it with a socialist revolution.