Blog: Better late than never for views on armed police to be heard

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes has written about the Scottish Police Authority’s consultation on armed police. 

I shared the shock of many of my constituents when I first learnt that some of Scotland’s national police officers were undertaking routine duties whilst overtly carrying guns.

It used to be that firearms were largely kept in the boot of a police car and accessed only when needed. Now, armed officers patrol streets across Scotland with guns in their holsters at all times.

The Chief Constable ordered this change should take place without consultation. Parliament wasn’t told, local councillors were kept in the dark, and no effort was made to explain to the public how the way they are policed would alter or how the specific needs of their communities had been taken into account.

The SNP promised us that the new national force wouldn’t impose sweeping changes upon local communities from a distant HQ. However, it took months for anyone to investigate this and meaningfully consider the widespread concerns expressed by campaign groups, Highland Council and the public.

The two retrospective reviews now being conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) are better late than never.

The Scottish Police Authority is seeking to hear your views on the new nationwide armed policing policy before Friday 17 October. The consultation can be found here.

If you are concerned about armed police undertaking routine patrols, this is your opportunity to make your voice heard. If you feel let down by this fundamentally undemocratic decision-making process, this is your chance to challenge those in charge.

Alison McInnes

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson

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