Police defend nationwide force against critics

Police Scotland firearms officers Specialist firearms officers carry a Taser and a holstered handgun

Related Stories

Police in the Highlands have denied that the Scotland-wide force is operating a one-size-fits-all policy.

It follows a row over the deployment of armed officers on routine patrols.

Ch Supt Julian Innes, the area's divisional commander, told BBC Scotland: "I make most of the local decisions that take place here.

"But there are some standards across the whole of Scotland that, quite rightly, the senior management team will make."

Scotland's eight police forces merged into Police Scotland in April 2013 and critics claim that fears about centralisation and a loss of local accountability following the amalgamation are becoming a reality.

Regional conditions

Councillors in the Highlands have criticised the police for deploying armed police on regular patrols.

Meanwhile, in Dumfries and Galloway, there are concerns about an increase in stop and search methods as well as more licensing restrictions on events like the Wickerman Festival.

However, senior officers say all policy decisions can be reconsidered to take account of regional conditions and concerns.

"Things are different across Scotland and, if we use the firearms as an example, the amount of officers that are deployed routinely using firearms here is completely different to other parts of Scotland where the threat and risk is different," insisted Ch Supt Mr Innes.

Highland Council last month asked Police Scotland to review its decision to arm officers in its area.

'Central Belt policies'

A small number of specially-trained officers in the area have been routinely carrying side-arms since before April last year.

Cllr David Alston, Highland Council depute leader, said: "It runs so contrary to the real improvements in our society, the reductions in violence.

"Why, at the point when there is less violent crime in the Highlands than ever before, should we suddenly have armed police on the streets? It simply doesn't make sense."

Concerns that the nature of policing is changing were echoed by Cllr Finlay Carson of Dumfries and Galloway Licensing Board.

"I know there were fears initially that, when Police Scotland came into force, we would get Central Belt policies applied across the country and it would appear that these fears have come true and we're seeing Strathclyde policing policies imposed in rural areas - something that we didn't really want to see."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Scotland stories

RSS

Scotland Live

  1.  
    07:08: Also on GMS Gary Robertson BBC Radio Scotland

    'Uncertainty' concern for Scottish finance sector, says Jeremy Peat.

    Jeremy Peat has compiled a new study of Scotland's financial sector.

    He's on #bbcgms at 07:35.

    Get the background from our Business and economy editor, Douglas Fraser.

     
  2.  
    07:05: Coming up... Gary Robertson BBC Radio Scotland

    More than 130,000 people expected in and out of @EDI_Airport over the festive period. Where are they heading? CEO Gordon Dewar #bbcgms 0720

    Good Morning Scotland programme

    Listen to the programme here.

     
  3.  
    How's the weather looking? BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Hi, Kawser here. Cloudy with rain & drizzle in the West - heavy at times. Drier and brighter further East. Colder & showery in Northern Scotland. Strong coastal winds.

     
  4.  
    07:02: Oil industry 'close to collapse'

    The UK's oil industry is in "crisis" as prices drop, a senior industry leader has told the BBC.

    Oil companies and service providers are cutting staff and investment to save money.

    Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers' association Brindex, told the BBC that the industry is "close to collapse".

    North Sea oil rig

    Almost no new projects in the North Sea are profitable with oil below $60, he claims.

    "It's almost impossible to make money at these oil prices", Mr Allan, who is a director of Premier Oil in addition to chairing Brindex, told the BBC. "It's a huge crisis."

     
  5.  
    07:00: Welcome Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    It's early, it's time to get moving, it's Thursday's edition of Scotland Live...

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.