Council leaders oppose police carrying guns

COSLA oppose routine gun carrying Picture. Ian Rutherford
COSLA oppose routine gun carrying Picture. Ian Rutherford
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Council leaders have backed a report opposing the controversial policy allowing police officers to carry firearms while on routine patrol.

A small number of officers throughout Scotland were given a standing authority to carry guns following the merger of the old eight forces into Police Scotland.

The decision prompted concern from MSPs, local authority leaders and some members of the public, but Police Scotland and the Justice Secretary said it was the national roll-out of a policy already in place in Strathclyde, Tayside and Northern police areas.

A report for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) discussed by council leaders at a meeting in Edinburgh today raises issues including a lack of consultation on the decision and the effect on the public’s perception of the force.

It invited leaders to agree “to the principle that police officers should not carry firearms on regular duties”.

It also asked leaders to agree to write to Police Scotland to seek clarification in relation to the standing firearms authority, agree to respond to three separate reviews of the policy launched by Police Scotland, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority, and consider making representations to the Justice Secretary and Holyrood’s Justice Sub-Committee.

The report was agreed unanimously, with plans to invite Chief Constable Sir Stephen House to a future leaders’ meeting.

Cosla was asked for its views by Police Scotland as part of the force’s internal review.