The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Call for po­lice to carry guns on street

- By Gareth Rose Police brutality · Crime · Terrorism · Incidents · Scotland · London Bridge · London · Government of the United Kingdom · England · United Kingdom · Scottish Government

ALL po­lice must be rou­tinely armed to pro­tect the pub­lic from ter­ror at­tacks, the leader of Scot­land’s rank and file of­fi­cers has warned.

Calum Steele, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Scot­tish Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion, said they must be able to use ‘lethal force’ if sent to at­tacks such as the re­cent one on Lon­don Bridge.

Mr Steele made the point to Chief Con­sta­ble Phil Gorm­ley in face-to-face talks about of­fi­cer safety.

He has now warned that if of­fi­cers are not trained and given firearms they should not be asked to at­tend ter­ror at­tacks.

Asked if that meant arm­ing all Scot­tish po­lice of­fi­cers, Mr Steele said: ‘There’s a need to hon­estly get to that po­si­tion, but fun­da­men­tally it’s in­cum­bent on the chief con­sta­ble that he does not ex­pose his of­fi­cers to risk.

‘Un­armed po­lice of­fi­cers con­tinue to be rou­tinely sent to in­ci­dents where weapons, in­clud­ing knives, are in­volved.

‘Ei­ther Po­lice Scot­land does not send un­armed of­fi­cers to th­ese in­ci­dents or, if it does, it makes sure they have all the equip­ment they need.’

Mr Steele cited Colonel Richard Kemp, a for­mer se­cu­rity ad­viser to the Bri­tish govern­ment, who has said arm­ing po­lice would save lives.

Eng­land has suf­fered three ter­ror­ist at­tacks in as many months, in which 35 peo­ple died.

Po­lice Scot­land said it al­ready had plans for more of­fi­cers in armed re­sponse ve­hi­cles (ARV).

As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Bernard Hig­gins said: ‘Po­lice Scot­land is an un­armed ser­vice with an armed ca­pa­bil­ity, which is pro­por­tion­ate in UK terms. We are in the process of in­creas­ing ARV ca­pa­bil­ity by some 90 of­fi­cers and this will be com­plete in the very near fu­ture, tak­ing the to­tal num­ber of ARV armed of­fi­cers to 365.’

A Scot­tish Govern­ment spokesman said: ‘Cre­at­ing a sin­gle po­lice ser­vice has im­proved ac­cess across com­mu­ni­ties to spe­cial­ist polic­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, in­clud­ing firearms of­fi­cers.’

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