SENIOR officers are set to appear before MSPs today to give evidence on the controversial deployment of armed police.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone and Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins were re-called to the Scottish Parliament’s justice sub-committee on policing after an appearance earlier this month.
During their last appearance they told MSPs that armed officers had responded to more than 1,600 routine incidents since October.
In that month, Police Scotland said officers attached to Armed Response Vehicles (ARVs) would only be “deployed” to armed incidents or those where there is a threat to life.
However, officers are continuing to use their own discretion about which incidents to attend.
In a submission to the committee ahead of today’s evidence, Deputy Chief Constable Livingstone said armed officers must be able to continue to act when they see crime unfolding on the streets.
Deputy Chief Constable Livingstone said his officers must be able to use their “professional judgement” on whether to respond to live incidents.
He said: “As we confirmed during the evidence session on 5 March, the level of interaction between members of the public and ARV officers, as a consequence of our policy adjustment on 1 October 2014, has reduced markedly.
“In the 1,644 instances since 1 October the officers used their professional judgement to assess the situation and to determine necessary action that was appropriate and proportionate.”