Moray enters the debate over armed police on the beat

A Moray councillor has entered the growing national controversy over armed police officers on routine duties in Scotland.

Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Douglas Ross, who is the chair of the police and fire committee on Moray Council, entered the debate when it was revealed that the leader of Scotland’s Liberal Democrats was demanding a full review of the use of armed police.

Mr Rennie said that the call from Highland Council for the existing Police Scotland policy of routinely allowing armed police officers on the beat was being “stonewalled” by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

Mr Rennie added: “I know that many wish to see an end to the deployment of armed officers on routine duties. Questions also remain about the need for armed officers to carry sidearms if they are to continue attending routine duties.”

Tory councillor Douglas Ross said that the issue may be discussed at the next meeting of Moray Council’s police and fire committee. He said: “I would have concerns about a one size fits all policy for any aspect of policing – but in particular the issue of police routinely carrying guns.

“The chief constable of Police Scotland seems to be using such a policy – but policing in Elgin is not the same as policing in Edinburgh.

“I have not had the issue raised with me personally but it may be up at the next meeting.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government has, however, insisted that armed police officers has been a long standing feature of policing in Scotland, adding that it is for the chief constable to make operational decisions about where and when to deploy resources.

He said: “Police Scotland has emphasised that it regularly reviews the use of standing firearms authority. In the first year of Police Scotland, specialist firearms units attended 1300 incidents across the whole of Scotland – including more than 100 in the Highlands.”

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