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警員巡邏不應配帶槍械!

2018/3/16 — 15:45

香港警務處網站圖片

香港警務處網站圖片

沒有人知道市民對警員帶槍的想法,因為從來沒有做過民意調查。本港的實際需要可從一些數字中看到,其使用次數僅為每年不多於十次,但其開支頗大(註一)。

其讓人想起的有:

2009年3月17日警員接投訴登何文田馬頭圍抽水站的山邊調查市民投訴一名尼泊爾男子在山邊面向民居撒尿,鐵騎近距離連轟兩槍將其擊斃。

2014年5月5日藍田康雅苑,凌晨一對已婚的年輕夫婦懷疑因為感情發生問題發生爭執,警察連開三槍擊斃21歲青年何世通。

廣告

五個國家不讓警員巡邏帶槍

外文報導,警員巡邏帶槍不是必然(註二),美國警員濫用槍支曾觸發多次暴動。在英國,愛爾蘭,挪威,冰島和新西蘭,警員在巡邏時沒有武裝。 警察只在特殊情況下只配備槍支。

廣告

學者指出:“不少人認為讓警員帶槍,造成的槍支暴力比他們防止槍支暴力更多。” 在冰島,三分之一的公民都有槍支, 但警察大部分時間巡邏不帶槍。在英國,82%的警察不想帶槍。在新西蘭,一位教授認為,農民的職業比警察更危險。

2011年,挪威的一位極右翼的槍手安德斯貝林布雷維克襲擊一個夏令營,造成77人死亡。但挪威沒有改變其警員不帶槍巡邏的傳統。

16個太平洋島國中有12個不允許警察攜帶武器。他們認為:“一個沒有武裝的社會是一個文明的社會。”

後語

香港警員巡邏 時很多時要調停居民紛爭,他們由於攜帶武器所做成的不便遠比幫助為多,因此,香港警員不應在平常時間配帶槍械!

*******

 

備註

註一

據立法會資料,過 去 5年,警務處在行動中 (包括在發生或即將發生可能危害警務人員或其他人士的人身安全或生命受到威脅時)使用「史密斯威森軍警型左輪手槍」的逐年次數分別為:2 、2 、7、4和 4;內地訪客在港干犯“藏有槍械及彈藥”刑事罪行被捕人數分別為2014 年 57次;      2015年71次和 2016 年54次;過去3年,非華裔人士因干犯藏有槍械及彈藥刑事罪行而被捕的人數為302 、295、 195  ,為其總被補人士的 4%。

而警務處運用分目603「機器、車輛及設備」的撥款購置及更換警隊機器及設備,以協助警務人員進行訓練、執法、部署行動(包括人群管理或大型公眾活動)等工作中,警總槍械訓練系統為 4,662,000元 ,佔其開支148,226,000元的  3%。

註二

5 countries where most police officers do not carry firearms — and it works well

By Rick Noack July 8, 2016 Email the author

A woman is escorted to her car by armed officers on Thursday, July 7 , 2016 in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers in the heart of Dallas during protests over two recent fatal police shootings of black men. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

LONDON — It has been another week of devastating gun violence in the United States: 37-year-old Alton Sterling and 32-year-old Philando Castile were both fatally shot by police officers in separate incidents which sparked outrage across the nation.

When protesters rallied against the shootings Thursday night in Dallas, at least one gunman opened fire on 12 officers,  killing five of them.

Shortly after the shootings, U.S. and foreign commentators put a renewed spotlight on what they think has been one of the origins of most of the recent violence: gun control laws. But some experts say that a successful disarmament of the United States would have to be more extensive than many believe: Citizens and law enforcement personnel would have to hand over their weapons in the long term to make the U.S. a safer country.

It's a strategy that seems to work surprisingly well for other countries: In Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand, officers are unarmed when they are on patrol. Police are only equipped with firearms in special circumstances.

Police officers there have saved lives — exactly because they were unable to shoot.

"The practice is rooted in tradition and the belief that arming the police with guns engenders more gun violence than it prevents," Guðmundur Oddsson, an assistant professor of sociology at Northern Michigan University, told The Washington Post.

As the U.S.  debates gun control and better policing, these five nations could teach some crucial lessons.

In Iceland, one third of all citizens are armed — but police officers are not most of the time

When police shot a man in Iceland in 2013, it was the first time police had used their firearms and killed a person in the history of this country, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Granted, Iceland is a tiny country with only 300,000 inhabitants.

However, one third of the country's population is armed with rifles and shotguns for hunting, making it the 15th most armed country per capita in the world. Despite this, crime is extremely rare.

 A demonstrator challenges a policeman during a protest outside parliament, in Reykjavik, Iceland Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009. Police used tear gas to break up an angry protest outside Iceland's parliament early Thursday, and two officers were hospitalized after being hit by rocks, the force said. It was the first time the country's police had used tear gas in more than half a century, and came as demonstrators mount increasingly violent protests against a government they blame for leading once-prosperous Iceland into economic ruin. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti ) ** ICELAND OUT ** A demonstrator challenges a police officer outside parliament in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2009. (Brynjar Gauti/AP)

Are Icelanders simply more peaceful than Americans? "Iceland's low crime rates are rooted in the country's small, homogeneous, egalitarian and tightly knit society," sociologist Oddsson said.

When asked what struck him most about crime in Iceland, Richard Wright, a criminology professor at Georgia State University, said: "Once, during a presentation, an Icelandic police officer kept referring to 'poor people with problems' — and it took me a while before I realized that she was talking about offenders. She considered every citizen precious because 'we are so few and there is so much to do,' she said."

Wright also thinks that the powerful standing of women in Iceland's politics, as well as within the police force, has helped to maintain low crime rates. Both Oddsson and Wright agree that low inequality and a strong welfare system have contributed to Iceland's success in sustaining its unarmed police.

Most of Ireland's officers are not even trained in using firearms

Ireland has gone a step further: There, most police officers would not even know how to use a gun if they were threatened. According to the U.N.-sponsored research site GunPolicy.org, only 20 to 25 percent of Irish police officers are qualified to use firearms. Despite that, Ireland has much lower crime rates than the United States.

In Britain, 82 percent of police do not want to be armed

"Sadly we know from the experience in America and other countries that having armed officers certainly does not mean, sadly, that police officers do not end up getting shot," Greater Manchester Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy was quoted as saying by British media outlets in 2012, after two of his officers were fatally shot.

The practice of walking unarmed patrols is an established fact of police life everywhere in the U.K. apart from Northern Ireland: Since the 19th century, British officers on patrol have considered themselves to be guardians of citizens, who should be easily approachable. There are far fewer incidents of deadly clashes between police and suspected criminals. While there were 461 “justifiable homicides” committed by U.S. police in 2013, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, there was not a single one in the United Kingdom the same year.

In a 2004 survey, 82 percent of Britain's Police Federation members said that they did not want to be routinely armed on duty, according to the BBC. At least one third of British police officers have feared for their lives while being on duty, but remained opposed to carrying firearms.

In New Zealand, a professor argued that it's more dangerous to be a farmer than an unarmed police officer

 In an essay, Auckland Technical University Senior Criminology Lecturer John Buttle calculated that it is in fact safer for police officers not to carry weapons. "[In New Zealand], it is more dangerous being a farmer than it is a police officer," he wrote in a paper, published 2010. Arming the police would inevitably lead to an arms race with criminals and a spike in casualties.

"Only a dozen or so senior police officers nationwide are rostered to wear a handgun on any given shift," said Philip Alpers, associate professor at the Sydney School of Public Health.

Norway has stuck to the tradition — despite a shock in 2011

In 2011, Norway suffered through a tragedy which exposed the dangers of unarmed law enforcement authorities. Back then, far-right gunman Anders Behring Breivik attacked a Norwegian summer camp and killed 77 people.

Murders are extremely rare in this Scandinavian country — but many blamed a delayed and flawed police response for the horrifying carnage Breivik was able to inflict. So far, though, the tradition of unarmed police officers has proven to be stronger than the fear of terrorism.

Twelve of 16 Pacific island nations, for instance, do not allow police officers to carry weapons. "Their regional bumper sticker now reads: An unarmed society is a polite society," says Alpers of the Sydney School of Public Health.

Most experts agree, however, that it would be counterproductive to suddenly disarm U.S. police officers without addressing the origins of crime. "Any attempts to roll back the militarization of the American police would need to be accompanied by policies that increase economic and racial equality and legitimate opportunity for advancement for the poor," sociologist Oddsson said.

This post was first published in February 2015. It was updated on  July 8, 2016.

Rick Noack is a foreign affairs reporter based in Berlin. Previously, he worked for The Post from Washington as an Arthur F. Burns Fellow and from London. 

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