Highland Council asks Police Scotland to review gun policy
- 27 June 2014
- From the section Highlands & Islands
Highland Council has asked Police Scotland to review its decision to arm officers in the Highlands.
A small number of specially-trained officers in the area have been routinely carrying side-arms since before April last year.
Police in the former Strathclyde and Tayside forces also allowed specialist officers to routinely carry guns before the launch of the new single force.
Police Scotland has adopted the approach across the country.
Fifty nine Highland councillors support a motion by the local authority's depute leader, David Alston, calling for the policy to be reviewed.
Earlier this month, the officer in charge of policing in the Highlands and Islands said he could have done more to make the public aware of changes to firearms policy.
Ch Supt Julian Innes said he "probably had not explained" the police tactic as well as could have.
He told BBC Radio Scotland officers had been carrying Tasers and holstered handguns for 13 months before it had become an issue.
- Strathclyde Police, Tayside Police and Northern Constabulary allowed specialist officers to routinely carry guns before the launch of the new single force.
- Police Scotland had adopted the approach across the country since its launch in April last year.
- The force has 275 firearms officers - 1.6% of Police Scotland's personnel - and they are deployed on a shift pattern basis.
A political row over specially-trained officers routinely carrying side-arms started in May when Independent MSP John Finnie raised concerns about the change in policy.
He said previously firearms officers had to retrieve their weapons from locked safes in armed response vehicles with permission from a senior officer.
Mr Finnie said following the change in policy there had been occasions when firearms officers had supported unarmed police on routine duties, such as dispersing late night crowds from outside pubs and clubs.