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Thursday, 6 March 2008

Armed officer is faced with having to shoot a child pointing a gun at them

Police in Merseyside have a plan aimed at key criminals, based on a successful US operation to cut gun crime in Boston. They have drawn up a hitlist of the main suspects and have promised they will get “very special attention”. Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Moore said: “If you use a gun you will be seeing us sooner rather than later.”
It is only a matter of time before an armed officer is faced with having to shoot a child pointing a gun at them, a senior Home Office official has said.
Children as young as 8 are growing up with guns in their lives and think nothing of storing or transporting firearms for gang leaders, said Jon Murphy, head of the gun crime task force. “It’s a classic no-win situation,” he added. “The volatility of these kids may make them pull the trigger. If they are challenged by an armed officer it is their inability to rationalise what is happening that will put the officer in a difficult position.
“I cannot see a way, with the way that things are going, that this awful scenario is not going to happen. As soon as they point the gun at the officer the officer will have no choice but to shoot. Fifteen years ago a gang feud may have been settled with a fist fight, ten years ago with a knife fight but now it will be guns.”
In the past five years the number of young people prosecuted for firearms offences has risen by 20 per cent. Speaking at the first European Serious Organised Crime Conference, in Liverpool, Mr Murphy told that for many youngsters gangs took the place of a family. Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, told the conference about a Lithuanian gang that had “steadily been increasing the flow of illegal firearms”. The guns ended up “in the hands of those too young, too bad or too foolish to do other than shoot each other with them”, he added.



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