Following recent reports of armed police being deployed on routine patrols in other parts of Scotland, Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray has written to Police Scotland’s Local Divisional Commander Kate Thomson to express her concerns and to enquire about their use in Dumfries and Galloway.
Elaine Murray advised Chief Inspector Thomson that a constituent informed her recently that he had observed two armed police officers attending an incident at the Whitesands, Dumfries at the end of June, and that he thought they may have been involved with the drinkers who frequent the toilet area.
Elaine Murra said: “While I accept – indeed agree – that the deployment of armed officers may be necessary where an incident may involve serious threat to individuals, the community or the attending police officers, I am very concerned if armed officers are attending routine incidents in my constituency.
“Like my colleague Graeme Pearson, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice, I am concerned that armed police are being deployed without any discussion in Parliament or with local communities on the instruction of the Chief Constable Stephen House. As with Inverness which was recently highlighted in the Daily Record, Dumfries and Galloway is a low crime area and I do not believe that use of specialist forces in routine cases can be justified.
“Is there any process by which elected representatives can be informed about the deployment of armed police in this region?”