An ‘educational’ museum just opened in the UK that’s utterly grossing people out

Armed Police officer
Support us and go ad-free

Police representatives have celebrated the opening of the Museum of Armed Policing. Once the news got out, though, the public’s reaction wasn’t quite so warm.

The consequences of carrying weapons… but only for the public

The Museum of Armed Policing, based in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, had its grand opening on 17 November with the cutting of a police line:

In an interview with local paper Fenland Citizen, founder Mark Williams said:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

This is not about glorifying guns, or armed police, we tell the whole story, we want people to understand the history behind where we are today.

Williams is also CEO of the Police Firearms Officers Association (PFOA). The museum is a project by PFOA, which the association said aims to “inform and educate on all aspects of armed policing in the UK”. Meanwhile, the BBC reported that a spokesman said its aim is to warn “young people about the consequences of carrying weapons”.

A PFOA description of the museum from February said it would have different “zones”, including:

  • Police firearms going back to the 1800s.
  • Royal Ulster Constabulary / Police Service of Northern Ireland.
  • Counter-terrorism.
  • Incidents that have impacted armed policing.
  • Less lethal technology.

And the BBC also said the museum contains a “virtual firing range”. The public can visit the museum from January 2019.

“Proud”

The museum has been welcomed by police representatives across the country:

It also received early support from Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom, who faced criticism for her response to Lush’s spycops campaign:

“Sick”

Not everyone was pleased about the news though. Some questioned if the museum would reveal the whole history of armed policing:

The Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) also suggested the museum’s stated aim may not be exactly on point:

While others summed their reaction up in just a couple of words:

Armed threat

Armed policing is on the increase. In July, a Guardian article said operations were up 19%, to 18,746, across England and Wales in 2017/18. Simon Chesterman, lead on armed policing for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, blamed international terrorism and increased violent crime for the rise. Chesterman has also floated the idea of routinely arming officers on the street.

But high-profile armed incidents by police across the country makes routinely arming them a worrying prospect. The killings of Anthony Grainger, Mark Duggan, Jean Charles de Menezes and Azelle Rodney were mired in criticism, for example. Meanwhile, there have also been notable errors with tasers. These include Avon and Somerset Police tasering its own race relations adviser as well as a man with autism, and Sussex Police tasering a disabled father and son.

As a result, it’s not hard to see why a ‘museum’ for police with guns disgusts some people. The number of people shot and killed by police in England and Wales is lower than some other countries. But routine arming isn’t going to decrease that figure. We must confront any attempt to make this idea more acceptable to the public.

Get Involved!

– Check out the United Friends and Family Campaign and Inquest, which support those affected by deaths in state custody.

– Read more about police at The Canary.

Featured image via Tony Hisgett/Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed