Armed Police in Parliament – Is this right?

Further to many accounts from the past three days of both IDS & Pennig turning up at Select Committee meetings with several armed police; and the more from disabled people saying how they felt intimidated having guns pointed at them, I have to wonder what is going on?

This seems to be a fairly new development in fact when I asked Paula Peters from DPAC, who has been attending Select and other meetings at Parliament for years she said “last year they patrolled the ground floor and security, they never went upstairs, security from September to now at parliament has been stepped up dramatically; have never seen armed police in any corridors before but the security has been raised to substantial”.

I noted in my blog from the W&P Select on Monday, I had to hobble through this group of armed police to join the queue waiting, but I failed to note a small incident that happened earlier in the day; whilst I was meeting with Kate Green, my carer was straining to see the art work liberally placed around the central lobby of Portcullis House, Kate noticed and suggested he go to view it. Minutes later he returned having been stopped from crossing the lobby by a security guard and told “You must stay with your MP at all times”; asking sarcastically no doubt, ‘what about the loo’ she replied – “You Go with her and You Wait”! Kate’s response to this was “that is not true” as she  shook her head, some comments around ‘jobsworth’ were then shared and we laughed it off.

It does seem that this current ministerial behaviour, needing to hide between bodyguards, is at yet, confined to Ministers of the DWP; however is this behaviour indicative of how we, the public, are being viewed by Parliament? If so I’m concerned on several levels; is it have the powers that be become seduced by their own rhetoric, and now perceive anyone who is interested with Democracy and their Rights as a terrorist? Or does it speak hidden volumes as to the mental health of certain Politicians, do they really need help with living with Paranoia?

Whatever the real reasoning behind this raised security, it is in my view unacceptable that disabled people, lawfully engaging in Politics, are left feeling terrified by armed police. Even if a genuine risk assessment reveals a true threat to the lives and well-being of Politicians; is that any reason for highly trained armed men to use their weapons in a threatening manner – I think NOT?

These men are fully aware and capable of doing their jobs in a professional manner without their weapons being pointed towards wheelchair users; and in my opinion, there is NO excuse for this.

DPAC has published an personal account of their experienc of this along with a Freedom of Information request which asks questions as to the reasons and I for one look forward to the response