According to an ABC News article, European law enforcement agencies are rethinking in what manner and exactly how many of their police should be armed. With the recent deaths of three French officers during three days of terror in Paris, along with the suggestion of a plot to kill Belgium police, European police are taking steps to protects its officers.
Scotland Yard, the elite headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police, announced on Sunday that it will be increasing the deployment of officers allowed to carry firearms in Britain. Belgium officers have been allowed to take their service weapons home. In France, law enforcement officials are demanding heavier weapons and protective gear. An unidentified French official of the ministry said there have been talks of automatic weapons and higher grade bulletproof vests.
ABC News reported that among the most horrifying images from the Paris attacks was the death of police officer Ahmed Merabet. He was seen on eyewitness video lying wounded on the pavement as a gunman approached and fired a final bullet into his head.
Merabet, who was seen on the footage as alone on the street, had a service gun and a bullet proof vest, said Michel Thooris of the France Police labor union.
“But he did not come with the backup he needed, and the psychology to face a paramilitary assault,” he said. “We were not prepared in terms of equipment or mind-set for this kind of operation.”
“We don’t want necessarily the arms that American police have. We need weapons that can respond,” said Philippe Capon of French police union UNSA.
Among those weapons, he added, are modernized criminal databases. The current databases are out of date and are firewalled between different law enforcement branches. “The databases are not interactive. They are not accessible to all. They are not up to date,” he said.
The London Metropolitan Police said it is bolstering the deployment of specialist firearms officers who are authorized to carry weapons. Scotland Yard declined to provide details, but senior police officials stated there is no need for a policy shift that would arm all police.
However, Mark Rowley, chief of the counter-terror operation of Scotland Yard, said the “overall security posture” of the police is being reviewed in light of the Paris attacks.