Falkirk chief welcomes gun policy U-turn

Officers were armed carrying out routine duties
Officers were armed carrying out routine duties

The Chief Constable’s u-turn on his policy of having armed police on routine patrols has been welcomed by the leader of Falkirk Council.

Craig Martin said the announcement from Sir Stephen House that guns will now only be carried when “firearms offences are taking place, or where there is a threat to life” is a “victory for common sense.”

The council’s scrutiny committee had quizzed local Police Scotland commander Chief Superintendent Davie Flynn on the impact of the policy in Falkirk district after reports officers with side arms had attended a shoplifting incident in Inverness and a minor road traffic accident in Glasgow City Centre earlier this year.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) had also challenged the need for officers on routine patrols to be to issued with guns.

Chief Superintendent Flynn said: “Officers within Falkirk Area Command do not carry firearms as a matter of routine. The vast majority involved in the police use of firearms are part of the Operational Support Division based in Stirling from which an Armed Response Vehicle is deployed on a 24/7 basis. They respond to incidents that may require their skills, equipment and training as directed through the firearms command arrangements. It would be appropriate to state that the police carriage of firearms is at a very low level.”

Councillor Martin said: “The issue obviously raised concerns across the country and I’m delighted Chief Constable House has now directed only firearms officers attached to Armed Response Vehicles will be deployed in these very particular circumstances. To me, that’s a victory for common sense.”