One of Britain's top police officers today warned against a rush to routinely arm officers following the killing of two constables in Greater Manchester.
Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, were sent to investigate a reported burglary yesterday when they were attacked with a gun and a grenade.
Suspect Dale Cregan, 29, was arrested in June in connection with the murder of Mark Short but was released on bail pending further inquiries.
The president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir Hugh Orde, said today: "Guns don't necessarily solve the problem.
"You only have to look at the American experience. Many colleagues in America are lost without even drawing their gun at close ranges."
Mr Orde said it was the "clear view of the British police service from top to bottom" that officers prefer to be unarmed because the public dislike approaching constables bearing weapons.
He said minimum use of force and intervention was the "bedrock" of Britain's policing model.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme policing is "a risk business", adding: "As we speak, officers will be responding to calls not knowing what they will get to and not knowing exactly what they will be dealing with when they arrive.
"It's just a harsh fact of policing and, tragically on occasions, things go horribly wrong."