Local MSP John Finnie, Scottish Greens is concerned at the lack of consultation over changes to policing in Scotland.
It was announced this week by Police Scotland that they would be extending the role of Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) officers to allow them to be deployed to more non-firearms calls. This would come into effect in the new year.
Deputy Chief Constable Johnny Gwynne, Crime and Operational Support said:
“We have increased the number of ARV officers available in our communities but our current deployment model is inefficient. It does not allow these officers to be sent by the control room to anything other than firearms or threat to life incidents.
“ARV officers will now support colleagues and the public by responding to a wider range of incidents with an emphasis on public protection, vulnerability and speed of response. They will also support local and national campaigns, such as drink-driving and speed awareness activity”
In response to an increase in the number of incidents in which police officers have been confronted by people with bladed weapons and an increase in assaults on officers a further 500 officers are to be trained in the use of Tasers .
John Finnie said:
“We are seeing slow but significant changes in our police service, quite properly being equipped with personal protection equipment, to the roll out of offensive, potentially fatal weaponry like firearms and TASER.
“I am disappointed that my request that the Cabinet Secretary call on Police Scotland to publish the risk assessments they purport underwrite the existing and proposed models of deployment went unanswered.
“What we need is facts not innuendo and spin. There is no legitimate reason why the public should not be given access to assessments which are fundamentally changing our model of policing.
“I will ask the acting Chief Constable to publish both documents.
“The Scottish Green Party also require to know the mechanisms by which the disarming of police officers can take place.
“We want less rather than more weapons in our communities.”
Police Scotland stated that the change was for the safety of the Scottish public and claimed to have carried out “extensive engagement with the Scottish Police Authority, elected representatives and other key stakeholders ” before making the changes.
I always feel safer the moment that I step into Eire where the vast majority of Guards (Police) only wear a Battle-dress style jacket, no guns, no tasers and usually no batons. I do acknowledge that this is not always the case in Dublin, Cork etc. Putting that aside my wife and I feel that we can relax and there is a definite feeling that the Gardi Police by Consent of the majority of the people.
Incidentally some years ago in Plymouth, a small town in rural Michigan we got caught-up in a shoot-out between the local Sheriff’s Dept and some armed robbers. It was like something out of the ‘Gun Fight at the OK Coral’. they were using 0.38 Snub Nose Revolvers a notoriously inaccurate weapon at anything more than 25ft.
As for ‘Tasers’ I’m not happy about the actual HT, voltages used especially if the person has a latent heart condition!
There is one other fear that I have and that is the criminal mind will deduce that the cops will be all ‘tooled-up’, so the danger is that they will carry heavier weapons than before and where does it all end. In 1922 when the ‘Garda Siochana’ (Guardians of the Peace) they took the very brave step and set-up the new police service as an unarmed service,