At about quarter past eight this morning, on on Radio 4’s Today programme, the head of the Metropolitan Police (Sir Paul Stephenson), remarked that the protection officers in Prince Charles’ car had “shown restraint” last night when the Prince and his wife were attacked by anarchists. The presenter (Sarah Montague, I think) picked up on this, and asked what he meant by “restraint”, sensing he might be implying that the armed officers might have shot some of the rioters. He declined to spell it out. So, in spite of it being obvious, I will.
The bodyguards to the heir of the throne (and, come to that, the Prime Minister and various other establishment VIPs) are there for one purpose – to protect him from those that would do him harm. They’re carrying guns, not pea-shooters. So, faced with a situation where a bunch of enthusiastic republicans are smashing through the window of his car and shouting that they wished to kill the occupants, what are SO14 officers going to do? Well if the rioters were a credible threat, get out of the car, or get off their bikes and shoot them before they get a chance to kill or injure their intended victim. They’d already broken a window – if they’d got any further into the car I’d have said they were a credible threat.
Sarah Montague, and the rioters, need to grow up.