THE Scottish Secretary has paid tribute to the “absolutely magnificent” response of Police Scotland to the Glasgow helicopter crash tragedy and said he had every faith authorities would conduct a “completely professional” investigation into the accident.
Alistair Carmichael said the force had excelled at a time when it was still “coming to terms” with the loss of its own personnel following Friday night’s events, adding that the incident highlighted how a career in policing was like being a member of an extended family.
The Liberal Democrat MP was in Glasgow yesterday morning to sign a book of condolence in memory of the victims who died at the Clutha pub.
During an address to the House of Commons in the afternoon, Mr Carmichael said an interim report into the causes of the crash would be published as soon as possible.
Speaking to The Scotsman, Mr Carmichael said: “I think it’s worth remembering the police are doing the job they are paid for, but at the same time coming to terms with the loss of some of their own colleagues.
“On all counts, the response has been absolutely magnificent. The job they are doing is not an easy one, and I hope and believe people in the city will give them the space to do their job.”
Mr Carmichael said the investigation into Friday night’s tragedy should be thorough.
“The purpose is to establish what happened so that the families can have some certainty and we can ensure as much as possible this does not happen again,” he said.
“Time spent now taking care of the investigation may well pay dividends at a later stage.
“The Air Accidents Investigation Branch [AAIB], Police Scotland and the procurator-fiscal have all got to be given the time to do the job.”
Asked if he was satisfied that Police Scotland should play a leading role in the investigation, he said: “The investigation of the accident is done independently by the AAIB, and they will work very closely with the police.”
Mr Carmichael added: “I also want to reflect on the tremendous public response. I’m wearing a badge which says, ‘People Make Glasgow’, and if you have to have a badge that sums up the response to what happened late on Friday night, you couldn’t improve on that.
“Glasgow is no stranger to tragedy. But the response of the people of the city has spoken volumes about their strength as a community, and their courage and character.”
Asked what role Westminster would play in the investigation, he added: “The responsibilty of the government is principally through the AAIB. But the Prime Minister has made it very clear that if there is any need for any support from a police force to be given to Police Scotland, that help will be there.”