Should police officers be routinely armed?

Armed police on patrol in Newcastle Credit: ITV

This week’s terror attack has yet again raised the issue of whether more police should be routinely armed.

Unarmed Pc Keith Palmer was murdered when he was attacked by Khalid Masood with two large knives inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament. He was one of five people killed yesterday.

Now there are calls in this region for police to be routinely armed or to increase armed police patrols of the type often seen in the centre of Newcastle and other cities.

Armed patrols in Newcastle are a common site, but there were criticisms when they were deployed to patrol a Christmas market.

In 2010 Derrick Bird went on a two hour shooting spree in West Cumbria, killing 12 people and injuring 11 others before finally killing himself. All available armed officers - a total of 42 - had been deployed to the area as soon as the shootings were reported, but had been unable to stop Bird.

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