Being armed may not have saved PC Palmer, Commissioner says

Kate Solomon
Cressida Dick started as the first female Met Police commissioner last week [AP/REX/Shutterstock]

The UK’s new Metropolitan police commissioner has said that being armed may not have saved PC Keith Palmer in last month’s Westminster terror attack.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, Cressida Dick said, “What I would say is that it appears to me that in this particular scenario it is very hard to say that if Keith had been armed he would be alive today.”

She went on to add that using a gun in that situation could have been more dangerous.

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“I think the speed of the attack – “action beats reaction” is what the firearms officers always say to me – and there’s a backdrop of loads of members of the public where he was standing,” she explained. “So it might have been, even if he had had a firearm, difficult for him to take a shot.

There were several armed officers within the vicinity, several armed officers protecting Parliament, we did protect parliament.

“It’s an absolute tragedy that Keith was killed. I don’t think we can be certain, but let’s see what all the reviews say, but I really don’t think we can be certain that an armed officer would necessarily have been able to protect themselves or to intervene earlier.”

Although cautioning against the blanket arming, Britain’s most senior police officer did go on to say that the way the country is policed will have to change.

As figures show that gun and knife crime in the capital is up, Dick admitted that the figures “worry” her.

“I’m not sure we can be sure it’s a trend. But if it is the case that gun crime and knife crime is going up, then that’s of huge concern to me, and it will mark out my commissionership trying to bear down on violence in general and those two crimes in particular.”

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