As the riots and the looting continue, the minds of some are turning to "bringing the army in". It would seem "they will sort it out".
It is not altogether clear why.
Soldiers are not trained to be police officers; they are trained to be soldiers.
This simple point is especially important in respect of exercising any power of arrest and in dealing with public order offences. It may be that the police adopt the wrong tactics sometimes in dealing with public order matters; but at least they have relevant training and experience. The soldier has none.
But more importantly, it is important in a civil society that soldiers are not used against civilians - even if the civilians are violent looting thugs.
There is no need to bring soldiers in: the police actually have all the relevant public order powers to deal with the riots.
If the police are not doing so well so far, then that is a resource or tactical issue which can undoubtedly be resolved without reference to the armed forces.
There may perhaps be logistical support, such as communications and supply, which the armed forces can assist with; they could also maybe help in firefighting and medical support.
But we should not have a society where soldiers patrol civilians.
It was not a success in Northern Ireland, and there is no need to introduce it here.
Whatever our armed forces are for, it cannot be to coerce members of the public.
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