Police reaction to grenade was fully justified - Opinion

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Without doubt there will be readers having a jolly good laugh today at our story about the hand grenade converted into a cigarette lighter and the reaction to it.

There will also be those, probably from the health-and-safety-gone-mad brigade, who will be outraged at what they see as yet more mollycoddling by the nanny state and an over-the-top response by the authorities.

But those belonging to the latter should stop for a moment and ask themselves what else the police could have done.

Officers have no idea what they are about to face when called to any incident, especially in these days of heightened terrorist tensions.

Those who spotted the disarmed Second World War grenade had a choice: ignore it or bring in the experts who could vouch for its safety or otherwise. Had they ignored it and the thing exploded at some point Hampshire police would have been hung out to dry, and rightly so.

So what they did triggered a fleet of vehicles from the police, its firearms unit and the bomb squad from the Royal Navy to Michael Stanton’s home in Rosebery Avenue, Cosham.

To his credit Mr Stanton accepted the police response saying: ‘It’s similar to situations you hear about police being called to kids playing with toy guns. You just never know and the police are right not to take chances.’

But this incident has us wondering how many more, possibly lethal, ‘souvenirs’ there might be lurking innocently in people’s homes. Whether from the Second World War or more recent conflicts such as the Falklands, Iraq or Afghanistan does not matter. The issue is should they really be there at all?

 If they were not, some unsuspecting police officer would not have to face a potentially life-threatening scenario when he or she knocked at the door.