Here is an article from thefriend.org
I am posting it not because I agree or disagree but rather I would like to hear any responses from those who are interested in adding their two sense.
A Quaker firearms officer writes Paul Longden
Like you, I hope for a society where there is; no violence, no guns and no
wrongdoing. In the meantime, my colleagues and I live in that grubby world
of crime and violence where, sometimes, there is no choice but to use the
minimum of force.
Should police officers be allowed to become members of the Society of
Maybe you think that it’s OK for police officers to become members of the
Society of Friends if they are not involved in firearms incidents? Well,
it’s not that simple unarmed officers can become involved in firearms
incidents at a moment’s notice. They can be tasked to collect information
from members of the public and this information can be critical to the
correct deployment of firearms officers. Also, unarmed officers could find
themselves used to create a ‘cordon’ to keep the public away from the
scene where a dangerous person is being ‘contained’ by firearms officers.
If, like other Quakers, you find the firearms thing distasteful… Just
imagine if a deranged person armed with a firearm broke into your Meeting
for Worship and randomly shot somebody every 15 minutes. Do you expect the
police officers responding to this incident to be armed only with ‘the
Light’? The police officers will come armed with firearms. They come armed
not so they can kill people, but so that they can; communicate, negotiate,
protect you, protect the public and protect themselves and go home to
their families at the end of their tour of duty.
You may be wondering how do I, as a Quaker, cope with:
*The use of force to make arrests?
*The carriage and use of firearms?
With the anti-war protests, I have no problems of conscience or faith. I
see my role as a referee. I believe I am there to allow both sides to
carry out their democratic rights. The military to carry out the will of
the state and the protesters to carry out their right to protests.
(Remember, in other countries Quaker protests against the military would
be met with abduction, torture and execution). I am pleased if the
protesters are able to make their point without being banned or interfered
with (as may happen in a Central American country). Whilst I am greatly
troubled by war and all the preparations for it, I consider my role to be
essential in allowing the protesters to exercise their lawful, democratic
With regards to the use of force to make arrests, I am totally committed
to making sure that the minimum force is used in the arrest and detention
of suspects. I expect my staff to use good communication skills to resolve
situations. However, if they are left with no alternative but to use
force, to protect themselves or others, I expect them to be decisive,
utterly professional and to use the absolute minimum of force.
The police use and carriage of firearms causes me no problems of
conscience or faith. To me, the firearms and less than lethal options,
such as baton rounds (plastic bullets) are vital pieces of equipment. This
equipment is used in a defensive mode and allows officers to carry out
their duties, with an increased chance of survival against an armed
suspect. I enjoy the reward of safely arresting a dangerous suspect and
the firearms team going home to their families, rather than the mortuary.
As an authorised firearms commander I am privy to the initial debrief of
firearms operations carried out throughout England and Wales. The tales of
bravery and restraint shown by firearms officers are breathtaking. Many
are the occasions when they could have discharged their firearms, within
the law and procedure. Instead, they take incredible risks in order that
suspects may live.
I have been prompted to write this article by recent developments within
my Monthly Meeting, where a long-standing Friend raised a concern over my
suitability for membership, due to my involvement in the police carriage
and use of firearms. I have received genuine support from many Friends for
my chosen career, whilst a small minority of Friends display a polite
coldness, prejudice and ignorance about my career. I have heard of other
police officers receiving a similar response from their meetings.
I am left wondering, what sort of people does the Society of Friends want