Police trying to prevent terrorists from obtaining guns warn a rise in parcels being sent to Britain due to online shopping is helping criminals to camouflage firearms being smuggled into the country.
Dave Thompson, chief constable of West Midlands police and the national lead for countering firearms, said there had been a surge in the number of guns circulating in the UK.
In a Guardian interview, he said firearms were being reactivated overseas and then ordered for delivery into the UK.
“Traditionally you’d have seen maybe six or seven years ago we’d be stopping people at Dover with 10 Baikals [a make of firearm] concealed in compartments in the car. That’s become less of a feature. What’s become more of a feature is weapons through the fast parcel system, individual items coming through.”
He said criminals were trying a range of tactics to avoid detection. “We have to watch a trend of disassembling the weapons and sending them in component parts.”
So he’s calling for more scanning of parcels, yes?
Well, no. Of course not. He’s demanding more armed police.
I suppose we should be thankful he isn’t demanding we stop ordering stuff online…
Thompson said the Paris attacks, in which Islamic State-inspired gunmen killed 130 people, meant police needed a “significant” increase in firepower.
His force, like others, had already put more armed officers on the streets and would train more, but he said extra money would be needed to reach the level he believes is needed.
“While we do plenty of firearms operations, we deal with people who there is not much debate we are going to win the encounter with, because we’re better trained, we’re better capable, they generally don’t fire back at us,” he said.
Well, no indeed. Some are going to find that very difficult, given they don’t have guns.
Thompson leads policing in an area with one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in Britain. He said his force, serving an area where 30% of people come from ethnic minorities, struggled to treat all fairly.
“I don’t think we are a fair organisation on race still,” he said.
Islam’s a religion. Not a race.