I met Tony Long the author about nine years ago when he was working for Edgar Brothers, he came to visit my team with many, many, shiny things. He was unassuming, and seemed like a thoroughly nice bloke, he briefly mentioned that he had served with the Met in firearms and left it at that.
- Tony Long
Last year I watched a Channel 4 documentary on him which examined the Police use of firearms, as I sat watching what I expected to be a complete hatchet job, it suddenly dawned on me who he was. My first thought was "shit what the hell he must of thought of our bunch of carrot crunching County Mounties".
I digress. The book. Awesome, read it in two sittings.
Oh you want more?
I suggest that this book should really serve as a standard text to anybody considering a career in Police firearms, or about to post the standard ARRSE comment following a British police firearms incident hitting the news about "I wouldn't trust them with a ..(insert derisory item such as pen, water pistol, crayon).
Tony Long's 33 year police career spanned the entire period of the completely amateur days of "there's a revolver in the safe, don't dare put the bullets in it" to the complete overhaul and painful professionalisation of the police use of firearms. The book is well written, perfectly paced and covers in detail the incidents in which he shot five people in total killing three.
It covers in depth the background, the information,the incident itself, and Long's thoughts and actions in each case. This alone makes fascinating reading. The spotlight of the legal world seems to be throwing itself with wild abandon on the actions of soldiers in Northern Ireland and elsewhere and shows no sign of slowing down. Long's experience of a ten year wait to be cleared of the murder of Azelle Rodney is a salutary lesson it what we might expect from Perfideous Albion.
The attitude of the Met's senior officers also will come as no surprise to any police officers reading this, but again may surprise and worry others, and rightly so. It does not paint them in a good light at all and from personal experience (though I've never shot anybody.....yet) entirely accurate. Much as people are starting to wonder about soldiering in the current climate, why do people bother?
I cannot recommend this book highly enough, it opens a window on a usually very closed world, and goes some way to answer the above question.
Oh and Tony if you read this at any point, reference the Blackhawk single point sling that you "lent" me for trial purposes in 2008. It's doing very well.