By Gabriel Tate – @GabrielTate1
Thursday 18th August 2016
A fortnight after the announcement that more armed police will be patrolling British streets, this very timely instalment of the newly contemporary
Secret History series profiles the “most prolific” firearms officer in the UK. Tony Long relates his career in the force from 1983 through to his retirement in 2008, three years after he killed 24year-old Azelle Rodney and seven years before he was cleared for the same man’s murder.
Long explains the history behind and favoured tactics of police armed response units, as well as his own involvement in other fatal shootings in 1985 and 1987, aided by some extraordinary footage of the incidents in question. But the other side of his morally problematic profession is also explored: the ethics of the job, its psychological effects and even the perspective of his quarries, when Long has an oddly convivial chat with a former armed robber.
Crucially, however, Long and the film-makers also address those occasions, such as the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes when Long was acting as an unarmed liaison, when the police get it very badly wrong. A fascinating programme and impressively fair.