The Baldwin family say they have been angered at a statement given by Deputy Chief Constable Garry Forsyth after their ‘not guilty’ verdicts last week.
The statement ends with a line suggesting the jury’s decision would have been different if someone had died as a result of the shots that were fired, which the couple say has caused particular distress.
Richard Baldwin, who was accused of attempted murder, said: “The question to ask is does he respect the legal system? Does he care about the evidence? We feel that the police are just out there gunning for us.”
His wife Vicky described the officer’s statement as “opening up a can of worms”.
She said: “He simply hasn’t even bothered to find out the facts of the case. I thought it was irresponsible and the police are now the ones bringing up vigilantism.”
Bedfordshire Police issued the statement after a jury at Luton Crown Court cleared Mr Baldwin and his father Bernard of all charges, including attempted murder, over shooting at an unmarked police car on September 22 last year.
Deputy Chief Constable Garry Forsyth stated: “Firstly, I’m grateful that what we are dealing with today is not a fatality or serious injury to any party involved in this case.
“This was a very serious incident which involved the repeated and deliberate discharge of a firearm in a public place, against individuals who were unknown and unidentified, who were entirely innocent and were in fact police officers responding to the reported crime.
“It is the job of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate alleged criminality and present evidence to a court to be tested by a jury.
“I respect the decision of the jury, however I do have concerns about how some people may choose to interpret this finding. Members of the public have a right to use lawful force to defend their property, providing it is both reasonable and proportionate, but people should think very carefully before taking any action themselves.
“I don’t underestimate how traumatic exposure to repeated criminality can be on victims of crime. We do everything we can to respond appropriately to reports of criminality across Bedfordshire on a daily basis.
“Police officers and staff put their lives on the line every day in order to protect the public.
“Had this incident resulted in the death of one of our officers, or a member of the public, I do not believe the jury would have chosen to interpret the reasonableness and proportionality in such a way.”
> VIDEO: Baldwin family thank the public of Leighton Buzzard.
> More reaction from the Baldwins in tomorrow’s Leighton Buzzard Observer.
> A public meeting to discuss policing in Leighton Buzzard will take place at Leighton buzzard Library Theatre on Saturday, June 16, from 10am to 2pm. Two questions and answer sessions will be held at 11am and 1pm. Det Supt Forsyth, Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire and South West Beds MP Andrew Selous will be in attendance along with other representatives of Beds Police and Leighton-Linslade Town Council.