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Commission applauds u-turn on armed police

This news post is about 8 years old

Human rights body welcomes moves to restrict armed police

The Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has welcomed Police Scotland’s announcement armed police officers will now only be deployed to firearms incidents or where there is a threat to life.

It comes after public concern that police officers across Scotland were carrying guns on routine patrols and when answering routine calls.

Chief constable Steven House of Police Scotland took the decision to routinely arm officers earlier this year – without consulting MSPs or the public.

However SHRC said that, in future, changes to police policies that increase the presence of lethal weapons on Scotland’s streets should only happen with “appropriate governance, scrutiny and meaningful dialogue” with the public.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority are now undertaking an inquiry into how it makes decisions and implements these kinds of policies.

There are important lessons to be learned from recent events for all concerned with policing in Scotland

In a statement the SHRC said: “There are important lessons to be learned from recent events for all concerned with policing in Scotland and we look forward to working with Police Scotland and others, through Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights, to embed better protection of human rights within police structures and culture.”

SHRC’s intervention comes after a debate in the Scottish Parliament in which First Minister Alex Salmond defended the force's u-turn to restrict the deployment of armed officers to life-threatening incidents.

Salmond said the decision showed the force was listening to the concerns of the public and elected representatives.

He said: "I think the process that we've gone through on this issue has been a very good one.

"I think when a police service responds to public concern in a constructive way.”



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Mary O' the Colonies
about 8 years ago
The deployment of firearms by the police should be a matter of public policy and not an operational decision by the chief constable