He Threw Away His Shot… And His Job

, , , , | Legal | January 2, 2019

My brother has been a member of the civil nuclear constabulary — a section of the British police force that exclusively guards the countries nuclear sites — for some time. The job itself is very mundane and quiet most of the time. The force has never fired a shot in anger in the more than 60 years it has been in existence and usually averages under 25 arrests nationwide per year. It does, however, have some stories from the past that are quite alarming. This one, in particular, was told to my brother’s training group by their firearms instructor.

This story happens in 2004, in a post-9/11 world that’s also seen a sharp increase in suicide bombing incidents. There are two types of guards at Britain’s nuclear sites: the true civil nuclear police who are a well-armed and well-trained force who wear full ballistic protection and carry a range of firearms, and the onsite security staff who are employed by private security firms, are not classed as police, and are armed with at most a baton and pepper spray. The security staff serves as gate guards and interior checkpoint monitors, whilst the police do roaming patrols on and around the site.

The security firm decided its employees needed training in how to handle a credible suicide threat, and thus had one of their offsite employees approach the front gate of a nuclear site wearing a fake bomb vest. Unfortunately, it slipped this company’s mind to inform the multitude of highly-armed police onsite that this was going to be happening.

This man approached the gate wearing a large coat, and when confronted by the security staff, he shrugged off his coat to reveal a very convincing bomb vest and started shouting at the guards. As this occurred, one of the police officers arrived behind him in a patrol vehicle and after stopping, quickly exited the vehicle, shouted a warning, and got as far as cocking his rifle to open fire when the guy spun around screaming, “Training exercise!” repeatedly whilst throwing himself on the floor with his arms outstretched.

The police officer held his fire, and after a rather tense period, the actor’s identity was confirmed and he was allowed to get up and remove his outfit. The police officer, incredibly, was reprimanded and dismissed for holding his fire. At the hearing, when he said he could have killed the man, his superior simply responded that he should have.

The instructor finished this story with the warning that the constabulary expected deadly force to be used against persons who were deemed a credible threat to life or the facility, and if anyone present felt they would be unable to pull the trigger they should get up and leave now. Three people of the 25 present got up and left.

So far my brother and every other member of the force has shot nothing but training targets. I hope their presence at Britain’s nuclear sites as a force in being is sufficient to ensure that it stays that way.

1 Thumbs
363
VOTES