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Police Scotland capabilities

Published: 16 Jun 2016 14:40
Part of:
Law and order

Scottish Government responds to announcement on armed policing plan.

Police Scotland plans to enhance its armed policing capacity to deal with emerging threats have been welcomed by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.

Responding to plans to recruit a further 124 officers from across the service, Mr Matheson also told the Scottish Parliament that the move was not in response to a specific threat and that the uplift in numbers did not change how armed officers would be deployed.

The Cabinet Secretary said:

"The attacks in Paris and Brussels, as well as intelligence about the criminal use of firearms, have informed the work undertaken by Police Scotland to review plans and it has today announced an increase the number of armed officers to help maintain safety and security in our communities.

"This is an operational decision for the Chief Constable to make, and it is a decision that has the full backing of Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Police Authority.

"The vast majority of Scotland's police officers are not routinely armed and we have made an unequivocal commitment that that position will not change. Of our 17,317 police officers only a small proportion have standing firearms authority to carry weapons. This will now increase, but will still represent a small percentage, fewer than one in 40 officers.

"Police Scotland have made clear in their announcement today that there is no change to the current policy of only deploying armed response officers to incidents involving firearms or threat to life. Armed response officers will also continue to be able to use their professional judgement as police constables to deal with any situation they come across during the course of their patrols.

"As a government we are resolute in protecting the way of life that we enjoy and cherish in this country. The different threats to that way of life are real and as a nation we must be prepared for any eventuality. That is precisely what today's announcement is about. There is no specific known threat to Scotland and people are safe to go about their day-to-day business, further reassured by today's announcement by Police Scotland."

Notes to editors

The full text of the Cabinet Secretary's Parliamentary statement will be published shortly after delivery, on the Scottish Government website, here: tinyurl.com/scotgov-speeches.