Yesterday (Thursday 17th June) the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson announced that the number of armed police officers in Scotland was set to rise following intelligence about the on-going threat level in the country. You can read the Cabinet Secretary’s, including John’s question here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=10472&i=96491&c=1926523#ScotParlOR
Commenting afterwards John said:
“The Justice Secretary must accept that there will be serious public concern about today’s announcement. Although there is information informing the threat level, we must question the quality of the intelligence received and whether it has been obtained legitimately, especially in light of recent revelations about the Scottish Recording Centre.
“I previously challenged Police Scotland over the deployment of armed officers on routine activities. The public will rightly be wondering if the increase in numbers of armed officers will lead to mission creep. I welcome today’s assurance that the deployment policy implemented two years ago will be maintained, meaning that armed police should only be used in firearms incidents or where there is a threat to life.
“If the threat level reduces we must see a reduction in use of armed officers. In putting that point to the Justice Secretary he conceded that a reduction in threat level would allow the level of deployment to be revisited, and I would hope we reach that point in the near future.”