The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Call for police to carry guns on street
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.’