Gone in 8 seconds…

Kent Online are following the inquiry into the Nationwide Building Society robbery in New Romney on 31st October 2006.

Sadly, one of the robbers armed with a shotgun was shot dead by armed police.  Robert Haines, armed with a shotgun, was trying to make his escape from the building society having just robbed it of £105,000 by threatening the staff at gunpoint – with a shotgun – and wearing a balaclava.  Interestingly, the other two men who were part of the same robbery have since been charged with a string of other armed raids in the apparently beautiful and otherwise scenic Kent.

It never fails to amaze me how the media put a spin on things.  The BBC News article, albeit from February 2007, can’t help but mention the fact that the same police officer who shot Robert Haines – who was armed with a shotgun – was also involved (not sure how tenuously or directly) with the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting in London.  What the heck does that have to do with it?  The facts of this case are that the robbers attempted to steal £105,000 from a building society, using a shotgun as leverage.  One of the robbers, Robert Haines – armed with a shotgun no less – fired at the police.

In a split second, the firearms officer had to make a snap decision.  Do I let the robber get away with his stash and a lethal weapon, which he is quite prepared to use as he’s just demonstrated, or do I protect myself, my colleagues and the public and take him out? The firearms officer estimates it all took 8 seconds – I suspect it may have been slightly less than that when you consider the effects of adrenaline on time perception, but in any case, 8 seconds is nothing when you’re staring at a criminal with a shotgun pointed at you.

Whatever spin you put on it, Robert Haines may well have been a 41-year old father of three as the papers keep pointing out, but he was also a dangerous criminal, with a shotgun (did I mention that?), caught red-handed at the scene of a serious crime.

Firearms Officer

Scary isn't it? Specially if the person aiming at you isn't a police officer, and intends to kill you...


16 Responses to “Gone in 8 seconds…”

  1. justabobby Says:

    8 seconds? My god, did the control room inspector have time to cut and paste all the ‘ooman rights arse covering bollocks into the message to ensure that his arse is covered come the investigation? “Look, I added the overwhelming right right to life to the message, wasn’t me guv!”

    If we attend anything looking even slightly moody these days you can guaran-frigin-tee that when you read the message back later there will be a whole swathe of cut and past malarkey about “Officers to be in possession of PPE” etc. Really? No s**t Sherlock. Where would we be without such sage advice from the control room?

    As for Haines? Chalk one up for the good guys. If the press emphasised that he was an armed dangerous criminal rather than a father of three where would their story ever lead?

  2. kKop Says:

    Ah, cut ‘n’ paste is to arse covering as fuel is to a fire. Unfortunately these days, if the wheel does come off, there’s a famous and hard rule everyone seems to stick to – if it ain’t written down, it didn’t happen.

    Sad really, but a direct result of the litigating mire we have to wade through in our daily lives.

  3. Crime Analyst Says:

    Hi KK

    Off Topic, with apologies…..

    Chris Grayling MP, the Shadow Home Secretary, is a regular visitor to http://thinbluelineuk.blogspot.com

    Chris has forwarded a letter, asking that we pass on his best New Year wishes and thanks to all police officers. Not sure if a hyperlink to the letter will print here but here goes :-


    We are keen that the letter, received today, is seen by as many officers as possible. We have published the letter on our site today and also forwarded a copy to the federation offices should they wish to distribute it.

    Kind Regards


  4. Crime Analyst Says:

    Hi KK

    Off Topic, with apologies…..

    Chris Grayling MP, the Shadow Home Secretary, is a regular visitor to our bit it seems, so will likley have visited your pages via our link to you.

    Chris has forwarded a letter, asking that we pass on his best New Year wishes and thanks to all police officers. As hyperlinks don’t always get through the spam filter, you may wish to pop over to ours (I’ll put a beer in the chilller!).

    We are keen that the letter, received today, is seen by as many officers as possible. We have published it on our site today and also forwarded a copy to the federation offices should they wish to distribute it.

    Kind Regards


  5. Tony F Says:

    In the military, if you are on armed guard, and have the misfortune to actually shoot someone. No matter what the circumstances are, you will be tried for murder. If you can prove that you followed the current RoE, you may, just may, be proven to have done the right thing. But here’s the rub; you are guilty until you have proved that you followed the RoE. Which of course, will be almost impossible. We ‘played out’ scenario after scenario, and decided that the only options were: make sure you had 100 good witnesses on your side, and make sure there were no survivors on the other…Then, you have to convince a jury that what you did was correct. On top of all that, it would be nice to think that our illustrious ‘leaders’, the thieves of westminster would give their support, but I suspect it would be gallows shaped…

    Fuck ’em.

  6. Fee Says:

    Regardless of what the newspapers or TV News channels say, most ordinary people will side with the officer. Anyone who comes hareing out of a building society with a swag bag and a large gun which they proceed to discharge shouldn’t expect to be going home that night. Or ever again, if need be. It can’t be an easy decision on the part of the officer concerned, but for what it’s worth, I think he did the right thing.

  7. Adam Says:

    Father of three, eh? I never realised that spawning progeny was such an indicator of good character – to think I’ve been so blinkered, so wrong about all those upstanding benefit-baby production-line chav’s, for all this time.

    Here’s a suggestion, the less likely you are to rob a bank whilst carrying a firearm, the less likely you are to be shot and/or killed for robbing a bank whilst carrying a firearm.

    You’d think they’d teach that in schools, wouldn’t you just?

  8. Tired and Fed-Up Says:

    Oh for God’s sake – 2 paragraphs given over to the fact that he’s a father of three and one of the bobbies was involved, to some degree or other, with Stockwell. He was robbing a bloody building society with a shotgun!!!

    What the hell is going on here? Are the BBC trying to introduce the sly suggestion that the Police were at fault? Another mistaken identity perhaps? Needless to say, no-one wants state sponsored propaganda a la the former Eastern bloc (oops, too late) but it would be nice if the media weren’t fanning the flames of mistrust for the Police.

  9. kkop Says:

    As some of you may know if you’ve read my posts elsewhere, this is one of my biggest bugbears – the way the media are so blatantly anti-police for the overriding majority of articles they publish.

    • Crime Analyst Says:


      Wholeheartedly agree with you.

      In the end for me, it was one on the reasons I finally gave up and returned to civvy street, so I admire those of you with the guts and fortitude to stick it out.

      It’s much the same now as when I left from what I’ve seen. Attacking police conduct (more often undeserved) has always been a bigger media draw than the many thousands more headlines they could write about how coppers do the job right. Its a perverse state of society when more media spin can be applied and coffers generated by negatice publicity as opposed to positive.

      Misrepresentation in the press is a huge contributor to public confidence. It is a fact that the majority of people will believe what they read and repeat the message rather than digging in and finding the truth. And then, when the media do actually concede they were wrong, it appears in a two line stop press entry, lost in the middle of some crap.

      The powers that be in the police and criminal justice system ought to devote more of their time and resources into outweighing the negative spin with more positive news. If the police had a more effective pr department, it could flood the media with the thousands of positive pieces of news and exert its influence in getting the public message across. It’s not about feeding them bullshit, it’s about restoring a balance to the news items that are published. That would go a long way towards restoring public confidence.

      Sadly, until the media moguls are made to sit up and listen, they will chosse the headlines that are commercially viable, regardless of public interest.

    • Crime Analyst Says:

      Instead, the powers that be would rather waste £5 million on promoting the police pledge, on posters no one reads and radio slots no one listens to. That is the extent of their imagination. They believe that this will inspire public confidence. Better to print the positive facts, the plethora of good news that the public should be hearing on a regular basis. (Ignoring crime statistics until they’ve cleaned up their act!).

  10. dungbeetle Says:

    The media are only interested in their own pocket, not the safety of the public.
    They know it is the first line in large type that gets noted, ask any good advertisement professional, whether it be a newspaper or Television or the computer screen.
    They will write and rewrite the the first line until it becomes an attention grabber, forget the text, that is left for spell checker.
    The powers to be rely on the voters for their power, and as the masses do not read fine print, the results are now in.

    Money talks.
    People support whats is good for their pocket book.

    Just keep the good work, the pendulum swings..

  11. kkop Says:

    Well, maybe one day I’ll end up at a high enough rank to be able to make a difference. When/if I do, I’d give the whole police PR thing a huge shakeup, and I’d have a far more aggressive police/media PR stance.

    It just gets my goat that the press seem to be able to print whatever they want, including blatantly misleading lies on occassion, and the police do little, if nothing, to redress the balance and clarify the issues.

  12. RocketDodger Says:

    Im pretty sure the only connection the guy who shot Haines had with the guys at Stockwell was they’re part of the same team.

    That, obviously, is all the link the media need

    • kkop Says:

      That’s the most likely scenario. What really annoys me is the distinct possibility that he had no direct involvement in the Stockwell shooting, but the media won’t clarify that as it negates the whole point of mentioning it in the first place.

      Mind you, I’m sure if he had been the same officer responsible for the Stockwell shooting, we’d never hear the end of it.

      If they’re not outright lying about stuff, they’re selectively withholding information to allow the casual reader to misinterpret the facts.

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