Reality check needed on armed police
AN inquiry by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) into the recent cops with guns furore says the public should have been consulted before officers were sent out carrying firearms on routine patrol. The SPA considers the force underestimated community feelings, failed to communicate the changes properly, and that its arming of routine patrols marked a significant change in policing style.
Apart from the last observation these are mainly matters of opinion, but I think most folk would agree with the general thrust of it. But the SPA then adds that a subsequent survey of 1,000 people found that a majority – 53 per cent – were actually in favour of police carrying guns on routine patrol.I thought the hail of criticism directed at the police over this issue was excessive. But I would be truly astonished if, in reality, a majority of people in the Highlands want police carrying firearms as they walk along the streets of Inverness and elsewhere. Public opinion surveys often yield findings which are peculiar, inexplicable or downright freakish. The poll which suggests that 53 per cent of us are in favour of cops strolling around with guns is most definitely one of them.
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