SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford calls for armed police review in rural areas after Skye 'shooting'

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has called for a review of the way armed police are deployed in rural areas, in the wake of an alleged multiple shooting in the Highlands and Islands last month.

One man died after the incident on Skye, prompting armed police to be reportedly sent on an 80-mile drive from Inverness.

With a higher gun ownership rate in rural areas, Mr Blackford said a review was needed to ensure officers in the Highlands and Islands were best prepared in the event of being deployed to rural or remote areas.

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Ian Blackford called for a review of armed policing in rural areas of Scotland after the events on Skye
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An investigation is underway, into the response from officers, by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).

According to the Sun, the Ross, Sky and Lochaber MP, who met with police chiefs last week, said: “I think the key thing we need to do after what happened is to take stock.

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“On the basis of what’s happened on Skye, we need to review preparedness and what we should be doing to keep our police, front-line workers and communities safe.

“I think it’s right that we review the deployment of armed officers in the rural areas.

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The Isle of Skye. Picture: Getty Images

“But I recognise until we get the PIRC report, it will be too early to make a judgement on that.”

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It is understood Police Scotland do not have any armed policing units stationed on the Western Isles.

Three people were taken to hospital following the series of incidents, some of which involved a gun, on August 10.

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Officers were called to a property in the Tarskavaig area of Skye shortly before 9am where they found a 32-year-old woman with serious injuries, who was then taken to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

About half an hour later, gun shots were reported at another property in the Teangue area of the island, about eight miles away, where a 47-year-old man, later named as John MacKinnon, was pronounced dead when emergency services arrived.

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Police later confirmed an arrest and a man was charged in relation to the incidents.

Finlay MacDonald appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court charged with the murder of Mr MacKinnon and attempted murder in relation to three other people.

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The 39-year-old did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody.

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