Andy Hayman is right. It is likely that the tactics used by police in the Raoul Moat case mark a dangerous turning point in modern British policing. Such disproportionate and overwhelming force should only be deployed in exceptional circumstances, such as a national crisis, not due to one lone gunman yet to attack the general public.
Short of declaring a state of emergency, it is hard to conceive of how the tactics in this case could have been intensified further, from which we might conclude that a gang of criminals or terrorists could prompt a declaration of martial law without the public being consulted. The police should remember that they police our communities only with our consent and in the manner of our choosing. However well-intentioned, we must not allow the pursuit of police and community safety to overturn these centuries-old and precious principles which form the bedrock of our democracy.