London's Armed Police (Hardback)
Up Close and Personal
As seen in Metro (May 2019): 'Dramatic pictures show gritty life of an armed police officer in London'.
As seen in The Sun (May 2019): 'Incredible behind-the-scenes photos reveal gritty life of UK's armed police in face of terrorism, riots and gangland shootouts – Metropolitan Police firearms officer Stephen Smith has revealed all in a new book'.
As seen in the Daily Mail (May 2019): 'Life on the thin blue frontline: Sobering photographs of terror attacks, riots and murders reveal the horrors faced by London's armed police officers on a daily basis as they strive to protect the capital'.
Come on a journey with veteran firearms officer, Stephen Smith as he goes behind the scenes of the Met’s Specialist Firearms Unit, SCO19.
This book covers events from the controversial shooting of Azelle Rodney in 2005 and Mark Duggan in 2011, right up to the outrageous terrorists attacks on Westminster, London Bridge and Borough Market.
Stephen Smith, through his unique access to SCO19, has managed to put together hundreds of detailed photographs along with text that goes a long way to explain why it is necessary to have such an elite firearms unit on standby 24/7 in London.
This comprehensive volume will bring you right up-to date with the training, operations, equipment and mind-set of these courageous individuals who put their lives on the line on a daily basis to keep the capital safe.
London’s Armed Police is a must have for anyone with an interest in modern policing or police firearms matters.
This is an important and valuable book that sets out what has been happening in the Metropolitan Police's Firearms Unit over a period of years. Written 50 years after the murder of three officers at Braybrook Street, Shepherds Bush, it is timely to reflect on how the Met's response to firearms crime has developed. We are all threatened by the fact that criminals have firearms - and use them, notwithstanding the strict firearms licensing laws that limits their availability to some extent. We do not relish the images of heavily armed police officers, the unease that they put into our minds, and their obvious distance from the community policing we appreciate so much. But this book describes how the system of armed patrols in London works, and the impressive steps to ensure good command and coordination for when police officers have to do something about mobile criminals who may be about to commit a robbery, a violent drugs deal or an act of terrorism. Split second decisions have to be made in tense situations when movements of suspects may be seen as sinister. The police officers involved need to be protected physically: their body armour moves them a long way from the 'officer on the beat'. They need to train for a great range of scenarios, much like their military counterparts, and they need to respond quickly to the surprisingly high number of incidents occurring on a daily basis on London's streets. All of this leads to quite a large squad of specialist officers who concentrate on using firearms against violent criminals, hopefully not to the exclusion of wider policing concerns. We need to understand how the teams operate, and this books helps enormously in this regard.Alan Moss
Physical protection from opposing gunfire is one thing: the law on reasonable force is another, and the wheels of inquests and enquiries grind exceedingly slow at times. We all wish that relatives did not need to face and mourn the deaths of those who are shot by police officers, but how can it be right for an officer to wait a decade before a court decides his fate? We would all like the processes of investigation, surveillance and arrest to take place peacefully, but occasionally they do not, despite all the best intentions, well-laid plans and occasional imperfections. The officials, lawyers and politicians, who pronounce at leisure, rarely experience the inevitable stress and fear of fast-moving violent incidents that can turn a police officer hero into an apparent villain according to their instant judgement and assessment. The police proverb 'better to be judged by twelve men than carried in a coffin by six' is no doubt true; but it is also vital that senior police officers exercise strong, wise and thoroughly engaged leadership and supervision of these firearms teams who have to carry out their duty in such extraordinary situations.