Police Scotland admits it made mistakes on firearms policy
POLICE Scotland gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament Justice sub-committee on Thursday and confirmed that it would be changing its firearms policy in light of controversy about the carrying of firearms on routine policing duties.
The policy, introduced in April 2013, was criticised by some councillors in the Highlands who witnessed officers carrying firearms and taser guns on the streets of Inverness.
In October 2014, Police Scotland announced that firearms would only be taken to “threat to life incidents”.
A Scottish Police Authority report into the firearms policy found that Police Scotland should have consulted the public about carrying firearms, and said that it had underestimated community feeling about the carrying of firearms by police officers.
A Police Scotland representative told the committee that 268 officers are on full-time firearm duties, and a further 270 non-dedicated officers had firearm authorisation.
The representative added that firearms were “a proportionate response” to new security threats, including “international terrorism”.
Police Scotland’s new review will look at “the mode of carriage” of firearms, and the way firearm officers respond to non “threat to life incidents” if faced with them.
The review will be concluded and a new policy in place “by the end of this month”.
A Police Scotland representative said the force accepts there has been communication problems with the public around its firearms policy and hopes that the new review will resolve them.
Picture courtesy of Ian Britton