PUBLISHED 16 JUNE 2016
Police Scotland has today (Thursday 16 June) announced an uplift to the number of armed response officers to strengthen their capacity and capability to respond to a threat or incident.
A full copy of the Police Scotland announcement can be accessed from the following link: Security and Safety enhanced through armed response increase.
Responding to Police Scotland's announcement, SPA Board member Iain Whyte said:
“The SPA fully recognises that the issue of arming specialist police officers in Scotland is a subject of intense public interest. As such we welcome the early and detailed engagement that we have had with Police Scotland as their assessment and planning has developed. This is rightly a policing decision, but I can assure the public that it has been subject to significant engagement on wider implications with both the SPA and the Scottish Government.
“It is clearly not a decision that has been taken lightly but the SPA is satisfied that an increase in the number of armed officers in Scotland of this scale is proportionate, based on an assessment of the current threat level, and necessary to ensure Police Scotland is as prepared as possible to respond and counter the range of threats that may occur. We are also content that in taking this decision, Police Scotland has given due consideration to the impact this uplift may have in our communities.
"Police Scotland remains a routinely unarmed police service. Fewer than 3% of police officers in Scotland will carry out these roles. This uplift maintains that principle and that must be a central message of reassurance that is communicated clearly to all.
“The SPA's previous work to test public attitudes suggested that having an appropriate armed response is something most of us accept and tolerate. International events of the last year are likely to have reinforced that acceptance.
"It is also important for the SPA to acknowledge that this is a decision that also brings implications for our own people. The responsibilities that come with being a firearms officer are significant and challenging. It is important that all those who step forward to take on those responsibilities do so in the knowledge that there will be appropriate training, equipment, infrastructure and support for them."