A deeply concerned police chief is calling on every single officer to be armed with at least a Taser - adding that he’d push for frontline bobbies to carry guns at all times.
Sergeant Richard Cooke, chair of the West Midlands Police Federation, says “now more than ever officers need the tools to do their job”.
Sgt Cooke told BirminghamLive : “I’m calling for all frontline officers to be armed with Taser as a minimum.
“The events over the last few weeks in particular show that now, more than ever, officers protecting the public need the tools to do their job in the current climate.
“I’m referring to the assaults on officers who have been threatened with knives on several occasions; punched, kicked, bitten, nearly run over, throttled, racially and verbally abused and spat on - and that’s just the last fortnight.”
In a West Midlands Police survey, more than 60 per cent of officers said they would be prepared to carry a firearm at all times on duty.
While, of the 2,140 officers that took part, 34 per cent revealed they were “not very satisfied” of current armed support being readily available.
The Police Federation also concluded how 58 per cent of policemen and women in the West Midlands said that they felt that their life was in serious danger at least once in the last two years.
Chair Sgt Cooke, following the release of the report, cited specific national terror attacks when calling for police officers to be armed at all times.
He said: “If you remember the terrorist attacks on Lee Rigby, Borough Market and the Houses of Parliament, the first officers to arrive were unarmed officers.
“If they’d been routinely armed would things be different? Would more lives have been saved? Would PC Keith Palmer have been murdered or could he have stopped the terrorist and lived?
“Of course we can never say for definite but that’s my argument.
“If the same thing happened in Birmingham spontaneously, the nearest officers to respond and save lives are likely to be your regular unarmed officer.”
Sgt Cooke added: “I want every frontline officer armed with a Taser if they want one.
“In the long run, I’d personally support routinely arming with a sidearm.
“At present, it’s a minority of frontline officers who have a Taser.
“They only came in about 10 years ago and a few frontline response officers got them.
“Gradually more have been trained but since we lost so many officers - 24 per cent since 2010 - and the violent crime wave means we need more protection for the public and ourselves.”
Another 850 police officer are due to be Taser trained by September 2019 in the West Midlands but, according to Sgt Cooke, this isn’t good enough.
He added: “There is a planned increase in Taser officers which we welcome, but I don’t think this goes far enough.
“Most officers only have a baton and pepper spray, like PC Palmer who confronted a terrorist and tragically got stabbed to death.”
Commenting on last month’s gun surrender in Birmingham, which saw 116 guns taken off the streets, Sgt Cooke added that “this is just the then end of the wedge”.