Po­lice on the beat should not be armed

Rutherglen Reformer - - Reformer View - Holy­rood Head­lines

With five weeks to go till the ref­er­en­dum on sep­a­ra­tion we are still wait­ing on Alex Sal­mond to pro­vide an­swers on ev­ery­thing rang­ing from the cur­rency, pensions, jobs, the armed forces, wel­fare and... well the list goes on.

This is the big­gest de­ci­sion in Scot­land’s his­tory and the stakes couldn’t be any higher. The SNP and Yes campaign owe it to us to pro­vide the facts and in­for­ma­tion we are all de­mand­ing. As­ser­tions and an ‘it will be al­right on the night’ at­ti­tude just isn’t good enough.

One of the big­gest un­knowns in this ref­er­en­dum is cur­rency. Mr Sal­mond has re­peat­edly said a sep­a­rate Scot­land would use the pound, de­spite ev­ery­one who would be in­volved with the de­ci­sion say­ing it would not hap­pen. What cur­rency we use is ab­so­lutely vi­tal to the peo­ple of Scot­land. It will af­fect ev­ery­one in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang – our mort­gages and rent, our pensions and sav­ings, our wages and bills.

How can the na­tion­al­ists talk about in­vest­ing in our schools and hos­pi­tals if we don’t even know what money we would use to do that? It sim­ply could not be more im­por­tant to Scot­land.

This campaign has al­ready been run­ning for more than two years. Alex Sal­mond has been cam­paign­ing for sep­a­ra­tion his whole ca­reer, yet with just weeks un­til polling day he still can’t, or won’t, tell us what cur­rency we would use if we left the UK.

Peo­ple in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang and right across Scot­land de­serve a straight­for­ward an­swer to a ba­sic ques­tion. We de­serve to know what Plan B is, and we need to know now.

I be­lieve that in Scot­land we can have the best of both worlds within the UK. We can have what the ma­jor­ity of Scots want with­out tak­ing on all the risks. That means more pow­ers for Scot­land guar­an­teed, backed up by the strength, se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity of the UK. Only sep­a­ra­tion puts that at risk, which is why we should say No Thanks on Septem­ber 18. Po­lice shouldn’t be rou­tinely armed

There has been sig­nif­i­cant con­cern ex­pressed re­cently from both the public and the me­dia on the mat­ter of rou­tinely arm­ing the po­lice in Scot­land.

No one doubts the need for armed of­fi­cers to deal with dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions and no

How can the na­tion­al­ists talk about in­vest­ing in our schools and hos­pi­tals if we don’t even know what money we would use to do that? James Kelly MSP

one ar­gues about the need for mo­bile armed re­sponse ve­hi­cles; how­ever po­lice should not be rou­tinely armed.

There is sim­ply no need for po­lice of­fi­cers to be armed while car­ry­ing out nor­mal ev­ery­day du­ties, and it can be very dis­turb­ing to mem­bers of the public.

The SNP Gov­ern­ment in Ed­in­burgh has been very slow to act on this mat­ter and the Jus­tice Min­is­ters re­sponse smacks of com­pla­cency.

Just last week Kenny MacAskill ig­nored MSPs from all par­ties who raised gen­uine con­cerns on be­half of con­stituents who don’t want to see cops on the beat armed.

There will now be two re­views into this by HM In­spec­torate of Con­stab­u­lary in Scot­land and the Scot­tish Po­lice Au­thor­ity.

I hope wiser heads pre­vail and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment ad­mits for once it got it wrong and lis­tens to the con­cerns from com­mu­ni­ties right across Scot­land.

Pound for pound Ruther­glen’s Labour MSP James Kelly says Alex Sal­mond must give an­swers on the future of the pound

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