Letters: Arming the police will not help to protect us

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The routine arming of police on the city’s streets is a great cause for worry and ongoing apprehension.

Chief Superintendent Mark Williams (News, August 13) seeks to calm the waters regarding police regularly wearing side-arms, but only manages to muddy them further.

Having such visibly armed police on patrol in Scotland is wholly disproportionate to any perceived threat. As he himself says, the root problem is the time taken to get permission to ‘break out’ the arms from the boot of a vehicle, as was the previous norm.

Good management practice is to treat the root source of any problem, in this case to reduce the time it takes for permission from above to be given. That’s pretty straightforward.

However, it seems that this truism is beyond senior management at Police Scotland and so they fire their blunderbuss in entirely the wrong direction.

The situation we simple folk find ourselves in and with thoughful reflection is well summed up by Donald Irving, QPM (Queen’s Police Medal), ex-Chief Super, who recently wrote, “Without public consent policing does not work. As a beat constable in days long past I was always aware of the truth of the adage ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’. Let us not forget it.”

Messrs Williams and House et al would do well to remember that.

Graham Davidson, Edinburgh

New traffic bill will help stop antisocial parking

MY new Bill to ensure the Scottish Parliament has the power to tackle irresponsible parking in Scotland has now been printed and will be debated at Westminster on Friday, September 5.

The Bill would clarify the powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament to tackle irresponsible parking such as parking on pavements, at dropped kerbs and double parking which can present a real hazard to disabled people in particular but also pedestrians more generally who may be forced out into the road to get by.

This Bill would ensure that the Scottish Parliament has the power to act to tackle irresponsible parking which can be not just a nuisance but a danger in the case of the elderly, children and people visually impaired or disabled in some other way.

There has been uncertainty over whether the Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate in this area and this Bill would cut through that by ensuring that it is devolved once and for all.

The text of the Bill can be found at: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2014-2015/0030/cbill_2014-20150030_en_1.htm

Mark Lazarowicz, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith

Flower of Scotland is a fine Scots anthem

Following recent letters commenting on the late, great Roy Williamson’s song ‘Flower of Scotland’ I feel I must put in my tuppence worth.

A couple of writers have described it as a dirge and suggested Highland Cathedral as a replacement. Anyone comparing the two musically will note that the latter has a much slower beat than the former. Does that make Highland Cathedral a double dirge?

Your latest correspondent has suggested that the Scottish Government get involved, while others have advocated a referendum (help!)

The whole point about ‘Flower of Scotland’ is that it was not chosen by a government, a committee, a quango or any other elected or unelected body.

It was chosen and adopted by the people of Scotland and it is the people who sing it freely and without coercion.

Miserable, mournful and downbeat? Look at the faces of the public when it is being sung and you will swiftly find the lie to that statement.

David McBain, Baberton Mains Row, Edinburgh

Overflowing bins are source of litter problem

Cllr Lesley Hinds lays the blame for the failure of the city centre to pass the Keep Scotland Beautiful survey at the hands of the public and their litter dropping. However it is clear to those who pass through the city centre and live within it that the blame lies closer to home.

Two streets listed as hotspots in the article (News, August 5) fail because of overflowing bins. My inbox tells the same story.

Until the administration accepts that the city centre is failing because of problems emptying the bins, then they will not be able to solve the problem and create the clean city centre we all wish to see.

Councillor Joanna Mowat, Conservative Councillor for City Centre Ward

Road traffic junctions are not fit for purpose

I use the Edinburgh Bypass two or three times a week at different times of the day. I have witnessed traffic levels grow to the extent that two of the key junctions are now unfit for purpose.

There are tailbacks at Sheriffhall at many times, weekdays and weekends, that in the westerly direction often tailing back beyond the junction with the A68. It is a disgrace that a flyover or underpass has never been built here.

The Gogar/Maybury link is a nightmare to negotiate and again congestion here is the norm. The obvious solution was a new link road between the Gogar and East Craigs roundabouts.

This should have been incorporated into the planning of the tram depot and proposed Edinburgh Gateway station. The opportunity has now been lost so we’re stuck with the problem.

The cost of the congestion at these junctions will be enormous and the resultant pollution levels a real concern. Locals and visitors alike should not have to put up with this on the principal route around the capital city. We have been badly let down by the politicians and agencies responsible.

Barry Turner, Carberry Close, Musselburgh