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Police criticised for officer armed in crowded shop


By Emma Crichton


Councillor and solicitor Ken MacLeod wants Highland Council to raise yet again with Police Scotland the issue of armed officers on the streets.
Councillor and solicitor Ken MacLeod wants Highland Council to raise yet again with Police Scotland the issue of armed officers on the streets.

A HIGHLAND councillor has hit out at the presence of armed police on the streets, saying it is a "nonsense".

Inverness councillor and solicitor Ken MacLeod said he recently saw a policeman with a gun in a crowded shop near his office in the city’s Lombard Road, despite national policy stating officers will only be armed where there is necessary or there’s an immediate threat to life.

Cllr MacLeod raised the issue at the City of Inverness area committee on yesterday (Thursday).

"Earlier this week I went for a sandwich and in the crowded shop was a police officer in uniform with a sidearm," he said.

"It is nonsense to have a policeman running around Inverness, in the centre of the city, wearing sidearms.

"If I walked around with a firearm when I was licensed to carry one I would be condemned for doing so.

"Highland Council has protested about this in the past and I think we should raise it again."

But Inverness area commander, chief inspector Ian Graham, said it is a national matter.

"The subject of armed police officers is not for me to comment on, that is for Police Scotland," he said.

Two and a half years ago a local newspaper published a photograph of three policemen carrying Glock 17 semi-automatic pistols in Inverness High Street as they made their way to a disturbance at McDonald’s restaurant.

This prompted a national debate and led to Police Scotland announcing in October 2015 that armed officers would only be deployed to firearms incidents or where there was a danger to life.

Following publication of the photo, Highland Council passed a motion by 59 votes to nine calling for the armed policy to be scrapped.



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