The Ridiculousness of Unarmed Cops in the UK?

By Mark Walters : Opinion

English Bobbys
The Ridiculousness of Unarmed Cops in the UK?
Mark Walters
Mark Walters

USA – -( Some word pairs do not belong together in the same sentence, such as “career politician,” for example.

Representing your state was never meant to be a full-time job with a cushy pension and free government funded, (our money) lifelong, healthcare benefits.

Another word pair that comes to mind? Oh, maybe “news personality.” What is it about delivering the news that makes someone a multimillionaire celebrity?

Look, I’m all for everyone getting as much dough as they can for their work and I certainly don’t blame the “personality” for taking advantage of the environment that enables them to grab it, but trust me on this–when that “news personality” crams the millions into their accounts, what little objectivity they may have had disappears and the “news” becomes all about them. Don’t believe me? See Megyn Kelly as a prime example. (I could name many others but she pisses me off, so I’ll pick on her)

Another word pair? How about “unarmed/disarmed cops?” Do I even have to explain that one? Well, I’m gonna.

First, let me distinguish between the two words, unarmed and disarmed. A person is unarmed by choice. Example–you are unarmed today because your gun is too heavy to carry and you’re too lazy to pick the right holster and gun combination for your attire. Disarmed, on the other hand, means unarmed by force. That means disarmed by a law, employer, government, another person during a fight, etc. That distinction is vital when we talk about the disarmed cops in Great Britain.

I know several cops, male and female and not one of them that I have spoken to would even consider leaving their home to start a shift, without a sidearm, no matter what else rested on their duty belt. It’s not only unfathomable, it’s unconscionable. I’m also not going to pretend to understand the mindset of any department anywhere in the world that would put their officers out on the street without a sidearm to defend themselves and their communities. I can’t wrap my head around that, particularly in the age of terror and in places that are under constant threat of, or experience, regular terror activity.

Think about this – a disarmed police officer doing the job he or she is sworn to do is then forced by the state into mortal combat (as the disarmed London transport cop during the third terrorist attack in the UK in ten weeks) at great disadvantage.


Let’s take that same logic to the civilian population in the UK. Are they unarmed or disarmed? Like many cops in the UK, the people are disarmed by the state, thereby, like the cops, forced into mortal combat at a complete and total disadvantage against dedicated killers with knives, trucks or their own guns when terror breaks out. Look, I’ve been interviewed on British national radio over at the BBC and there are a couple things I can tell you with certainty.

First, it’s been my experience that the disarmament movement there, as here, is run by those who believe themselves to be the “elites,” those being the media and liberal politician. Secondly, the vast majority of the British population think like the vast majority of Americans. They believe in the right to bear arms and those old enough to remember being disarmed by their government are now wishing they had not been asleep at the wheel when their rights were stolen. How do I know those things? Here’s just a sample of the many emails I received after my last appearance on the UK nationally broadcast BBC Jeremy Vine Show:

Good Afternoon,

I did try to call the radio station concerning your piece, my comments would have been- Who the hell are we (U.K) to tell the Americans who can have a Gun and who can’t. Me and my family have been going to the U.S (Florida) for over 25 yrs and I’ve never met a more responsible people as the Americans. I'm so sorry if those idiots at the BBC just put on the air, gun haters!

I totally support your feelings and your reasons why you have a gun.
Please know there are people in the U.K who support your point of view.

John Baldock

Here’s a tweet I received regarding that interview:

There were many others, in fact I was warned not to “let what happened to us, happen to you,” more than once. My point? Most people, anywhere in the world, recognize the fact that it’s always a good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun, knife, bomb, truck, etc., and to be disarmed in the face of evil is utter insanity. I will not pretend to understand a cop who would go to work in the UK without a sidearm. I can’t. It doesn’t make sense to me and as I said, I can’t wrap my head around the concept.

That begs the following question. Unlike those forcibly disarmed Brits who are forced into hand-to-hand mortal combat with nothing but chairs and bottles against dedicated killers with knives, guns, and bombs, we aren’t, therefore….

…why on God’s green Earth would any American choose to go unarmed?

I can’t wrap my head around that either.


About Mark Walters

Mark Walters is the host of two nationally syndicated radio broadcasts, Armed American Radio and Armed American Radio's Daily Defense with Mark Walters. He is the Second Amendment Foundations 2015 Gun Rights Defender of the Year award recipient and co-author of two books, Lessons from Armed America with Kathy Jackson (Whitefeather Press) and Lessons from UnArmed America with Rob Pincus (Whitefeather Press)

  • 31 thoughts on “The Ridiculousness of Unarmed Cops in the UK?

    1. You may notice an interesting “common thread” among answers from posters of different political perspectives. While there are many on each side who simply state their opinion, often in vehement terms, when you see a logical argument, it is virtually always put forth by a “pro-gun” poster. There is a good reason for this; there are no logically sound arguments on the opposing side. Those that have been put forth are all logically refutable or clearly contrary to easily established facts. This should cause us to ask, “Why do those opposed to an armed public (or at least one where anyone can choose to be armed at his own discretion) continue to be opposed, despite the failure of their logical arguments?” The answer is simply that the logical arguments are not the real reasons for their beliefs, and their opinion is determined primarily by emotional considerations rather than logical ones. They are simply afraid of encountering ordinary citizens who may be armed. Again, we need to wonder WHY. When you go to the range and see someone you don’t know, do you assume, as I do, that they are probably going to be safe and responsible, unless they demonstrate otherwise? Not so for the anti-gunner. They assume the opposite. WHY? I think the answer is that they hold two fundamental, underlying beliefs about “ordinary people,” that are constantly being reinforced by daily experience, but which are, nonetheless, erroneous. Those beliefs are:
      1) Ordinary people are fundamentally irresponsible, and
      2) Ordinary people cannot respond effectively under stress.
      The first underlies their thinking about the danger of an armed public in general, and the second “refutes” the argument that armed citizens will “rise to the occasion” in a crisis. If you believe these things about ordinary people, then it’s REASONABLE to oppose an armed public, and it is we “gun rights proponents” who are being UNreasonable. These beliefs are held unconsciously, and consequently, are rarely, or never, questioned. The person simply “KNOWS” these things to be true. Virtually none of the arguments we “gun rights” folks give them address either of these beliefs, per se, so they don’t attack the underlying reasons for their oppositions to an armed public. Even worse, their beliefs are constantly being reinforced by daily news (“if it bleeds, it leads”) which primarily reports events in which people were behaving badly. The implicit assumption when you see a report of an armed robbery or “road rage” incident, is that those were ordinary folks acting irresponsibly, not that they were members of a tiny subset of the general population (which is actually the case). Government agencies at all levels downplay any incompetent behavior by their LEOs, but play up the incidence of violent crime, because it is good for their “bottom line.” When there is a disaster (or mass shooting), the media always play up the emotional content and drama, which is inevitably focused on the “victims” and bad actors, rather than showcasing good behavior (which is actually the norm) among witnesses. Remember how many heroic acts occurred on 9-11? They weren’t reported at the time, only in retrospective documentaries, if then. Even with a simple traffic accident – the news shows the damaged vehicles, and maybe an injured person being treated by EMTs. But how often do they show the several civilian witnesses who immediately stopped at the scene to help? Virtually never, yet that kind of assistance is very common. So, when you see the news, you get the impression that traffic accidents are pretty common (actually they are NOT-think about it. In my city we have maybe 5 or 6 accidents a day. That means more than a million folks drove along within a few feet of each other, all traveling at 55-70 mph, WITHOUT having an accident!). Further, the news implies that all help comes ONLY from “trained experts” like the EMS guys. That is also the meme the government ALWAYS puts out – ie, “Don’t intervene by yourself, let the trained experts do that. Your job is just to be a good witness.” This leads to an implicit assumption that only those “specially trained experts” are competent to do anything to help, and therefore, only THEY have any obligation to help. The movies and TV also contribute to sustaining these beliefs, not only by their ridiculous portrayal of gun usage, or even their obvious anti-gun (in civilian hands) bias, but because of more subtle themes. For example, back in the 1940s and ’50s, the hero was likely to be a fairly ordinary person, perhaps a “working man” or an ordinary cowboy. Today, the hero is almost always someone with a history of “special training” like a former SEAL or assassin, if not a govt official like an LEO. This furthers the implicit belief that those govt agents are the only ones safe and competent with guns. If a civilian stops a crime with a gun in a TV show or movie, you can bet he will be portrayed as some sort of incompetent or personally flawed individual. Remember the “Jackass” TV show? Morons doing idiotic things-perfectly acceptable TV. Have you seen a show on the regular networks that shows ordinary people learning to shoot? No, and you won’t either. Remember the “Top Shot” show? Everyone had “expert training” backgrounds, didn’t they? As I said, it’s everywhere, and we don’t even notice it. But every day, in every way, we are being taught that ordinary people are at best incompetent, and more likely irresponsible. No wonder so many Americans think it’s dangerous to have more guns “out there” in public hands! Worse still-this is NOT going to change any time soon, if ever, because it is what sells advertising.

      Until we start addressing their mistaken beliefs about the nature of “ordinary Americans,” we are never going to have any impact on the underlying beliefs of those who are afraid of guns in public. And we have to start by realizing that the problem is NOT that they are cowards, stupid, or unable to “reason logically,” but rather that the arguments they put forth in public are not the REAL reasons for their antipathy to an armed public. The underlying reasons have to be brought forth and addressed, if we want to bring about any real change in their beliefs.

      1. Just thought I’d better put this out there before I get replies from LEOs who have seen ordinary folks acting badly. I don’t believe that ALL ordinary folks, ALWAYS behave well, obviously sometimes some won’t. But as a general rule, I think they do.
        Please keep in mind that LEOs typically interact with people who are NOT ordinary folks. I’ve been driving for 55 plus years and have been stopped once in my life (at a rural Louisiana speed trap). The only times police have been at my house was when I invited LEO friends over for BBQs. The vast majority of ordinary people have little or no interaction with LEOs in their daily lives. What LEOs deal with on a frequent basis is substance abusers and other CRIMINALS – not ordinary folks. This probably gives them a somewhat jaded view of the public, and frankly, I don’t see how it could be otherwise. If you are an LEO, think about how often the folks at an accident scene, where you are more likely to encounter ordinary folks, did NOT react badly. You may have to give this some thought because the ones who tend to stick in your memory are usually the others.
        I read an article in a professional LEO journal back in 2010, when concealed carry first became pretty common, regarding what to look for as signs of potential trouble, with those you encountered who were carrying. The old salt who wrote the article pointed out a couple of things: First, bad guys typically look like bad guys (“dirt bags” was his term), while good guys usually looked more “put together.” Second, he said the single most indicative thing of all, was whether or not the person was carrying his gun in a holster. Good guys always were, and bad guys never were. I suspect that is likely to be true in an even broader sense than just those who carry concealed guns.

    2. As I have mentioned before I have several family members in LE. I used to have the utmost respect and admiration for all of them. I have seen instances where so called power has gone to someone’s head , not in a life or death situation. Unfortunately I had to retain an attorney to put a stop to an investigation where a certain “golden boy” perceived some personal gain by railroading someone else. As soon as this persons superior was contacted by said attorney it all stopped. I believe there should be an internal affairs accessible to general populace and perhaps other officers as well, just to have a system of checks and balances.

    3. They were put down in eight minutes. Our average response time is 10 minutes and then 2 hours to decide what to do. The guns were there pretty quick and put to work right away stopping the threat.

    4. The UK may have ‘honor among thieves’ but this is not the case with


      They will kill you 24-7-365 unless you kill them first.

    5. A lot of good total civilian disarmament in the UK did during “The Troubles” starring the Irish Republican Army! The Brits never learned: now they have thousands of government-dependent jihadi sheep-shaggers, shooting and stabbing them…and the constables are disarmed and untrained. The UK will fall, along with Belgium, France, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and most of Western Europe.

      That will not happen in the USA: we Patriots are armed and trained, and just itching to have at it!

    6. Introducing guns for everyone in the UK is just a stupid and misguided idea. Walters has no clue.

      1. I think perhaps YOUR statement is the misguided one. Until the end of WWI there were few laws regulating the ownership or public carrying of arms in the British Isles (Ireland was something of an exception – especially if you were Catholic). This only changed when the Crown became afraid of a public revolt (literally an overthrowing of the government) in the aftermath of WWI, when the public first began to lean of the true magnitude of the personnel losses in the war. Prior to that point, England had a long history of armed citizenry, dating back at least, to the days of the Magna Carta. Removing the restrictions on public ownership of arms/firearms, and a return to civic and personal responsibility for individual British subjects, would probably be a good thing today. While the populace might be behind the power curve as far as having adequate training available at present, that is easily corrected, and the NRA here would undoubtedly be willing to help by sending instructors and training materials to help them develop effective training throughout the UK. Absent such training for firearms owners however, the public would still be better off armed than unarmed, at least from the perspective of the individual, and probably from the POV of the society as a whole. The arguments to the contrary ae typically based on the idea that individual members of the society are either irresponsible n general, or at least would be unable to respond safely, let alone effectively, under the stress of a violent encounter. The same unsupported arguments are the primary driving force underlying our own American anti-gun movement. Not only are there no good data to support this argument, but the available data tend to show just the opposite. In the entire history of both our nations, an armed populace has never before posed a major danger to public safety (as opposed to possibly posing a danger to the GOVERNMENT). So tell us, exactly WHY do you think it would be unwise to allow British subjects to acquire guns today? Do you really believe that Englishmen are so much more irresponsible than Americans? If not, then why would armed Englishmen be any more dangerous than are armed Americans?

        1. @OV, That is how I understand the English disarmament situation, too. English disarmament is a recent state of being. An excellent outline of the history of the English disarmament. And logical conclusion.

        2. WW1 was a looong time ago and, culturally, the UK does not have the American mindset when it comes to firearms where generations have accepted and expected them as the norm. There is not a similar hunting tradition either, so guns were either army or, increasingly, police. The police forces across the UK have done an exemplary job throughout history without having to always resort to guns and they still do so. Unfortunately, in today’s world they have to deal with the ever-present threat of terrorist S8itbags, so need to be appropriately trained and armed. It does not follow that everyone now needs guns.

          Just giving everybody the ability to carry guns would go horribly wrong. There would be even more gun deaths as the crazies would get them as well as the good guys. Your answer is always more guns, and some of the prepper nutcases on this site want to bring on Armageddon in their zeal to use their guns. It is sick.

          1. The problem is that the “crazies” and Jihadis already HAVE them! Further, those who don’t have them yet, can’t be prevented, by any laws imposed, from getting them in the future.
            “Gun Crime” in the UK has increased dramatically SINCE the imposition of draconian restrictions. Same thing with knives, despite all the laws against THEM.
            Extensive American experience, over many decades, has shown that, while training is certainly a GOOD thing (and I’m all for it, personally), even untrained, but armed, citizens have effectively saved themselves and others from violent assaults on frequent basis. Further, here in America, the recent loosening of previous restrictions on the ability to acquire, and publicly carry, guns has generally been correlated with a subsequent drop in violent crime, and in NO case with any increase in violent crime.
            Thus, to opine that returning to them, the earlier right of English subjects to own and carry handguns, is likely to create significant public safety issues, is inevitably, to opine that the Englishman is somehow intrinsically less rational and responsible than his American counterpart. What is the justification for THAT?

    7. I remember some years ago in the small town in IL where I came from, I found an abandoned bicycle in the lot next to my house. Thinking it could have been stolen I called the PD. They sent a young officer out to pick it up. He was in uniform with badge and all except he had no pistol. I asked…”why are you unarmed?” He said “they won’t let me carry a gun.” I told him “If I was a sworn officer I wouldn’t step out the door without a gun!” He just didn’t seem to understand. Maybe he does now. Not all fools and idiots are in Great Britian and Europe.

      1. I can account for your experience. He was a Code Enforcement Officer (as I am). This is being unarmed is universal throughout the country for this position. We are expected to go on a persons property, tell them they are breaking the law and telling them what they have to do. I work in a remote county and can have the nearest LE as much as 45 minutes away from my location. Yet the County Commissioners and County Sheriff say I cannot be armed. I am uniformed and have the authority to issue criminal citations (which are very seldom willingly accepted by the individual receiving it) yet I am on my own to deal with their response.

        Note – I still do carry concealed for which I have a permit, better to get fired than get “dead”. Also, I an Army retired Sergeant Major so I think I know a little about guns and their use and lethality.

        1. @SGM, Thank you for protecting my freedom. Also, in your work situation, as you have described it, the County Sheriff may never find your body. Couldn’t you just send them a certified letter?

          1. Thank you, I served 26 years and value every moment of that.

            Unfortunately, my activities are complaint driven from county residents and that requires that I visit the site of the complaint to verify there is a violation first. My appearance at the property is almost always noted by someone that is home. The majority of the properties are 5 acres or greater and involve a long approach to the residence.

    8. They have it partially right. Cops for the most part should not be armed. We have seen in the US that many cops are unable to exercise that privilege in a safe manner. Yes I said privilege, because cops work for the citizens and we get to dictate what their working conditions are.

      Citizens should be armed, not government employees.

      1. Chris, I’ll split the difference…

        Police officers should indeed be armed, since they are tasked to protect society generally (and here in Oklahoma they do a laudably fine job!). Citizens must be armed, since they are responsible for their own safety personally (and again, here in Oklahoma we are quite gun-friendly – citizens and government).

        It takes both.

        1. Agree. Police must be armed. But given the average response time where I live you could be very dead before they arrive. So, be aware, be armed, practice and have a mindset for survival.

      2. Having had family on both sides of the law, that is to say, both convicted felons and badges, allow me to point out that your premise is severely flawed!

        News flash, The Thin Blue Line in these times is the difference between you making it home, and your family making it home, or not making it home.

        You are one man, with either one or two side arms on your person, and possibly an edged weapon is a backup.

        Just in case you haven’t taken note, the violence these days is all too often precipitated by groups of thugs and/or mobs! No matter how fast you can shoot, no matter how accurately you can shoot, the misanthropes who literally do not care even for their own lives, we’ll come at you end masse!

        Here’s another news flash, the only thing between you and death in such a situation, is likely to be a cop: he or she facing the same threat that you were facing.

        Have you ever heard of the old Axiom two heads are better than one? Well, that’s what the cops are, strong backup for those of us who go armed.

        I would urge you to take a real-world look at the jobs cops actually do, for pay levels that no one should have to work for, all the while to be generally disrespected by far too many people in the public, and viscerally hated by the anti-cop groups such as black lives matter, who actually want to murder them!

        Please wake up and smell the Molotov cocktails in the air, because believe me when I tell you, you will come across
        a situation dire in the extreme, when you are going to be overjoyed to see a badge show up!

      3. Chris, I have to disagree with that conclusion. True enough, cops are classified as “public servants”…but their job description entails putting themselves in harms way on a constant regimen, whether it’s a ‘simple’ traffic stop, where the unknown is a window away, or answering a DV call, where it is already volatile…& no telling what or if weapons are involved, so being armed is not a privilege but a necessity.
        I do agree however, that the training needs more attention on being attentive as opposed to agressive. Agression has its place but not until warranted & certainly not with the attitude SOME overly assertive officers display. As the saying goes…check yourself before you wreck yourself…aptly applies to our LEOs, not only for our safety but theirs as well. Government employees are citizens as well & we ALL should be armed.

    9. Career politicians are OUR fault, not the fault of politicians. Elections are held on a regular basis. ‘We have met the enemy and he is us’ – Pogo.

      1. @Clark Kent, Now, Clark, you have said a lot of good stuff lately. Don’t go and spoil it. I think that the politicians are partly at fault, too.

        1. Nah Wild Bill, on the Clark Kent on this one:

          Were the Lemmings to stop voting for the professional pol’s, the left-wingers especially, and the RINO’s especially, things would really improve.

          Sadly, the plebs have finally figured out that they can be willfully bribed by the pro pols with so-called freebies! This vicious cycle has helped get us where we are at today!

          The RINO’s on the other hand, choose to quote unquote ‘not Rock the Boat’: they like their perks, they like their Bennies, they like their power, and they like their prestige, in the purest, most selfish elitist concept imaginable.

          Bottom line Wild Bill, the plebs are responsible for their votes.

          Sadly, I have given up on voting: there is no overcoming the great unwashed of the major Metropolitan populations: all we can do is get ready for the upcoming Civil War and try to survive.

          The Republic has already been lost: one need but look at the Modern Judiciary for confirmation.

          1. As long as true Patriots exist (and there really are some of us remaining!), the Republic has not been completely “lost.” Although, as you say, we must indeed prepare for the inevitably approaching Civil War.

            Your cited example of the “Modern Judiciary” is certainly indisputable proof that the Republic has been severely damaged….

          2. @JB, First, I presume that by ” pro pols” you mean professional politicians. If the pro pols did not choose to be professional politicians, they would not be on the ballet for us to vote for. So the professional politicians have to be some percentage of the problem. Thus the problem is not just the voters.
            And Second, you say, “… they can be willfully bribed by the pro pols with so-called freebies!” If the professional politicians did not offer, what you correctly identify as bribes in the form of freebies, then there would not be a problem. Thus the politicians are some percentage of the problem. Ouod est demonstratum: What ever the problems are, it is not r fault of the voter.

            1. Sorry should read What ever the problems are it is not the entire fault of the voters.

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