The Prime Minister, electioneering, has said that she fully supports “shoot to kill” while defending herself from the resonant accusation that she reduced the police forces during her time as Home Secretary and since by nearly 50,000.
“Shoot to kill” may sound like a brief action of a few armed officers but the concentration of automatic weapon brandishing officers in London has increased so much in the last ten years. The reduction in police on the beat has made the city feel under siege rather than safe.
Armed police are useless as investigators. As a last resort, they are more effective than a riot squad armed with batons, but it is only as a last resort are they at all effective. The PM is blind to the actual problem, she thinks that brute force is the only path to defeating terrorism, but it is actually the presence of many police with guns that normalises the fear and rewards terrorism for changing the way that we live, under constant reminders of threat.
London has over 2 million cameras which are nearly useless in detection but serve police well after an incident has occurred as investigatory tools. Reduction of police forces by such large numbers means that the support staff necessary to investigate and detect simply are not there. Being able to also now monitor internet chatter would not strengthen detection, it would require another 100,000 back office staff. There are not enough now to detect issues and thinking they can trail 20,000 people and predict that when they hire vehicle, they should be arrested, is plainly illogical.
To defeat terrorism, remove the reasons that stimulate it. Of course, there will always be radicals and insane criminality. Of course, there will always be thugs. But breeding them with an imbalanced society and starving the police of resources is Theresa May’s real crime. She is the cause of this rash of terrorism.