Routine armed policing ban is ‘community victory’

Jim Hume MSP protesting outside Selkirk Sheriff Court.
Jim Hume MSP protesting outside Selkirk Sheriff Court.

Scottish Liberal Democrat South Scotland MSP Jim Hume has hailed a decision by the Scottish Police Authority(SPA) that means the ban on routine armed policing is maintained as a victory for local communities.

The SPA has said Police Scotland should not revert to the model of police officers overtly carrying sidearms in attending routine duties.

The recommendations vindicate many communities’ concerns about a national move to routinely armed policing. Jim Hume MSP campaigned continuously against the move, warning that the policies were being imposed on communities without their being told or given the opportunity to have a say.

Mr Hume said: “This is a victory for local communities. There will be no routinely armed police in South Scotland. We could never endorse a move which would undermine fundamentally the principle of policing by consent. This illiberal action was made worse by the manner in which it was forced upon communities.

“The SPA’s wider reflection on the handling of this issue shows that armed policing is a test case of ‘operational responsibility’. Much more work needs to be done to set out the operational boundaries and responsibilities if scrutiny is to be effective.”