Well perhaps they should have - and then they could form themselves into Gun Teams to compete with the Royal Artillery at the new Royal Tournament! This was the question posed to the general public in a telephone poll conducted by the BBC just this, Sunday, morning. The result was a 60% No and of course 40% for Yes there being no "don't know" or other qualification. Apart from the fact that (thankfully) few people in this country will ever really find themselves in the frigntening position of suddenly becoming aware that their next move could be their last as they confront some maniac or terrorist carrying a lethal weapon, the question was superficial in the extreme. Firstly it was asked at a time of high emotion when people of a small English town found themselves going about their business alongside men and women who did not resemble any police officer they would routinely encounter, even on holiday. The media of course, in presentations not unlike something approaching pantomime, ensured that we all saw this as well. Secondly the question in my opinion was not about this at all. Yes of course there will be a need for police teams, specificially equipped, to provide a para-military support to normal policing. There have been such teams since the formal inception of policing in the UK. The question is; "Should all our police officers routinely carry side-arms in a visible holster"? (and should all officers have rapid access to heavier weapons, with of course appropriate continuation training and controls)? We are told by the "Noes" that this is not what a British police officer does as he/she polices "by the consent of the people". Apart from the fact that those with the opinion of Moat for example do not necessarily give that consent this is rather derogatory towards the many democracies where police officers do regularly carry side-arms. Do the police officers of Germany, Belgium, Canada, for example, not have the consent of the people? There is the added comment thrown into the mix "but many police officers do not want to have firearms". While this is understandable from a personal point of view - it is a heavy responsibility being continually aware of security, safety, and the rules for using it - every applicant to all those forces where weapons are routine knows this when he/she applies to join. I have travelled in other countries where police wear side-arms. While I notice this having carried weapons myself many of my companions have only become aware when it is brought to their attention. So much for the public potentially feeling intimidated. So my question is; Should all UK police officers in uniform routinely carry sidearms in a visible holster?