Armed police officers are the norm in the U.S., but countries including Ireland, Norway, New Zealand, and Britain, have unarmed police forces. Of the 32,000 police officers in London, only 2,000 are armed. Given the U.S.'s staggering history with police brutality, which only seems to be getting worse, perhaps because it is being focused and reported on now more than ever, having unarmed police officers doesn't seem like a bad idea. Despite the recent attacks in Paris, already spawning French airstrikes, British police said it will remain largely unarmed.
This is not to say police won't be increasing firepower in light of the attacks. London's Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told LBC radio,"There will be more firearms officers available every day on the streets." Hogan-Howe explained however that the force wasn't going to become largely armed just because of the state things are in. "What we don’t want to do is to knee-jerk towards a new type of policing where everybody’s armed," he said. Usually armed police officers are only seen guarding important government building, but since Friday officers with body armor have been seen at soccer matches—given the attacks near the Stade de France—and transportation areas such as train stations.
Hogan-Howe emphasized the British police's beliefs saying, "We are an unarmed force. We're proud of that. There are only probably four forces in the world that are unarmed, despite this huge city, despite this huge country."
[via Agence France-Presse]