Is armed police move down to money?

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IN HER article on the carrying of guns by police officers in Scotland, Jane Bradley tells us that it is acknowledged by Police Scotland that some of the areas where police are carrying guns are among the safest in Scotland (Insight, 20 July).

This action is defended to avoid a “postcode lottery”, thereby ensuring everyone everywhere has the same level of protection, even if it is not needed in an area previously regarded as “safe”. This blanket approach by Police Scotland across the whole country somewhat negates the promises of policing according to local needs with local accountability, reasons which were much paraded when the single police force was being formed.

I am surprised Jane Bradley did not delve further into possible reasons why arming the police is suddenly so necessary when crime rates are falling. Corroboration in Scots law basically means two witnesses are required which is one of the two main reasons why our police normally require two to attend an incident. The other is, of course, for the safety of the officers.

Moves are afoot to change the law and abolish the need for corroboration and this has been resisted. Although on the legal “back burner” for the moment, the proposal to abolish corroboration will return and if passed, one of the reasons for requiring two police officers at an arrest will have been removed and the lone patrol officer could become the norm in many areas. In turn this will significantly reduce police manning levels and costs of patrol.

In this debate, the safety of police officers carrying out their duties is of paramount importance. In an incident, confronting two unarmed police officers is considerably more formidable than confronting one unarmed officer. It stands to reason that if a lone officer is carrying a gun, the balance is somewhat redressed. Is the real reason for gun carrying possibly down to money?

Alan M Morris, Blanefield, Glasgow

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