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.