Armed anti-terror police could do more than good, says academic

Armed police can 'very often it can have the wrong effect', says leading professor as patrols are planned in Kent

Plans are set for armed police to have routine patrols in Kent (Getty)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Armed anti-terror police could actually increase the feeling of panic and insecurity among the British public, according to a leading academic.

Professor Frank Furedi was speaking to talkRADIO in the wake of news that routine patrols are set to begin in Kent, patrolling areas such as Canterbury Cathedral, the port of Dover and the Bluewater shopping centre. The decision was made following recent terrorist attacks in Europe.

Police said they will be there to act as a deterrent and provide immediate response. But Prof Furedi, a sociologist at the University of Kent, told Julia Hartley-Brewer that this decision might have a negative effect. 

"We're very fortunate that in Kent there have been no real terrorist incidents so far, and there is no need to imagine that our lives are going to be turned upside-down in the weeks or months to come.

"I'm not sure that arming the police and making a big public display of reassurance is the way forward, very often the most effective real deterrent to terrorist attacks is by low-key, behind-the-scenes intelligence-led operations. 

"Very often it can have the wrong effect, it can make people feel wary and reluctant to take risks and go out on the street."

Listen to the full interview to find out more