Network DirectorySearch
 Scottish News direct from Scotland

The Scotsman
Wed 14 May 2003
printer friendly printer friendly    email this article email article
Dirty bomb victims 'may be shot'


POLICE could be forced to shoot members of the public to maintain order in the event of a terrorist "dirty bomb" or biological attack on Britain, it was claimed yesterday.

The Police Federation annual conference in Blackpool was told that so few officers have been trained to deal with a chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological strike that they would have to resort to "very unsavoury but necessary" crowd control.

Bob Elder, the chairman of the constables’ central committee, did not refer specifically to officers firing on civilians, but sources within the organisation said it was clear police could have to resort to firearms to stop contamination being spread by fleeing victims.

The government had failed to explain how important it would be to keep the public inside a cordon after such an atrocity, Mr Elder said.

"This is not about creating mass hysteria," he said. "This is about the opposite. The public has a right to know.

"The natural reaction from the public caught up in such an incident will be to get as far away from the scene as possible. This could, of course, only extend the problem."

In another reference to the possible use of firearms to keep control of an area, Mr Elder added: "We will be the ones who would have to carry out that containment and we would be the ones held responsible for our actions - whatever those may be."

Asked if he could foresee officers firing on civilians, he said: "It’s an option the government is going to have to consider. We haven’t got enough cops trained to deal with full-scale containment and it’s putting everyone at risk."

A spokesman for the Home Office insisted police would not have powers to shoot the public to enforce a cordon in the event of a chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological strike attack.

"Police have the right to detain people if they present a risk to the public," he said. "There are no circumstances in which police could operate some kind of shoot to kill policy under the law."

Security fears over missing passports (26-May-03)
Manhunt for British-based suicide bombers (25-May-03)
Public urged to be vigilant (24-May-03)
Call to scrap borders in war on terror (24-May-03)
Bomb-truck defence put up at Parliament (23-May-03)
More More Articles
Afghan Network
Iraqi Presidency
North Korea News Agency
Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The war in context
More More Websites

UK soldier held over PoW torture claims
Setting sail for home.. by road
Royal Mail fails to deliver 80% of time
Ali gee whiz as Iraq's sultan of spin to star in video
Cronin free despite jail sentence
Government debate on road tolls signalled
Boring Jon on a roll .. out of door
Finucane: Man charged
Girls hurl bricks on to M25
Pole explorer back in UK
Star in murder case plea
Five held over £2m drug heist
Stepping out to aid charity
Number's up for £2m claim
Veteran is stone dead for 60 years
Page 1 of 5 next page

celebrity fever
The lazy guide to net culture takes you into the murky world of celebrity - and its antidote.

heroes and villains
Find out who's been this week's pillar of society and who's been, frankly, a berk.

everest on the web
If you can't get there yourself, try a virtual assault on the world's highest mountain.

photo gallery
Browse our award-winning photos and buy online.

after the taliban