A SERVING officer has been killed in a shooting incident at a police station in Glasgow. He was named last night as 41-year-old PC Rod Gellatly.
An ambulance was called to Baird Street police station, home to the force’s armed response unit, at 11am yesterday and left shortly before 2pm.
The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (Asps) said the incident had left police officers throughout the country “stunned”.
It is not known whether PC Gellatly took his own life or died in an accident, but there are no suggestions his death was suspicious or that anyone else was involved. No-one else was hurt and police are not looking for anyone else in relation to the death.
Lothian and Borders Police has been asked to investigate and a report will be passed to the procurator-fiscal.
One of the things the Lothian and Borders force will investigate is whether there was any breakdown in procedure in events leading up to PC Gellatly’s death.
Strathclyde assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins broke news of the tragedy to staff in an internal memo.
“It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that a serving Strathclyde police officer died today in an incident where a firearm was discharged at Baird Street police office,” he wrote.
“Our thoughts are with the officer’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
Strathclyde Police had not confirmed last night whether PC Gellatly was one of its firearms officers. However, access to, and the movement of, firearms are strictly controlled under police protocol.
Yesterday, a solitary police officer stood guard outside the station, which is situated in an industrial part of Glasgow, close to the M8.
Although mystery surrounded the exact circumstances of the shooting, news of the death came as a blow to the more than 17,000 serving police officers in Scotland.
Chief Superintendent David O’Connor, president of the Asps, said: “Irrespective of the facts and circumstances, it’s a tragedy, and it’s a member of the police family. Everyone feels stunned.”
He went on: “Obviously our first thoughts are for his family and friends who worked alongside him. Policing is very much a family and this is an extremely sad time.”
Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “We can confirm that one of our colleagues has died following a firearms incident in Baird Street police station this morning.
“It is too early to speculate as to the circumstances surrounding the tragic death and our thoughts turn immediately to his family who have lost their loved one and colleagues who have lost a friend.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Strathclyde Police Authority, which has responsibility for controlling the force’s purse strings.
Councillor Philip Braat, its convener, said: “The police authority has been informed that a serving police officer has died following an incident at Baird Street police office on Monday,
“Our thoughts are with the officer’s family, friends and colleagues at this very difficult time.”
Strathclyde Police was unable to confirm when a post-mortem examination of PC Gellatly’s body would take place. A spokesman also said his name had been withheld until after officers had spoken to his family.
In a statement, Strathclyde Police said: “We can confirm there was an incident at Baird Street police office on Monday, 5 November, 2012, where a firearm was discharged.
“This resulted in the death of a serving Strathclyde police officer. A full investigation into the circumstances is currently under way and a report will be submitted to the procurator-fiscal.
“As in accordance with Acpos (Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland) guidelines, officers from an independent force (Lothian and Borders Police) have been appointed to oversee the investigation.”
Strathclyde Police has never disclosed how many trained firearms officers it has, even in response to Freedom of Information requests, to avoid revealing the force’s operational capabilities.
However, it is a major part of its day-to-day work.
In 2010-11, armed officers attended a total 1,048 incidents, and were called into action on 322 of those occasions.
It is very rare for firearms to be discharged, and in most cases they are required mainly as a show of force.
Scottish police rejected calls for officers to be routinely armed following the murders of PCs Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, in Manchester, in September.
But Strathclyde Police has looked into widening the use of Tasers beyond firearms officers in a pilot scheme.
Fatal shootings are very rare in Scotland.
In April, last year, Sophie Taylor, from Tomintoul, a fourth-year pupil at Speyside High School, died when she was accidentally shot by her boyfriend, Calum Murray, 18, before the grief-stricken trainee gamekeeper turned a gun on himself.
Death certificates revealed that Sophie had suffered a shotgun injury to the chest, while her boyfriend sustained a shotgun injury to the head.
In 2004, an unprecedented security breach at the biggest RAF base in Scotland ended in tragedy, when a Gulf war veteran shot himself with a high-powered rifle, which he had wrenched from the hands of a guard at the main gate.