Police Scotland has officially extended the role of its armed response vehicle (ARV) officers.
The move means that gun cops will be sent to a range of non-firearms calls to support regular officers.
Police Scotland’s Chief Superintendent Brian McInulty insisted the new deployment model wouldn’t affect officers’ ability to deal with terrorism and serious organised crime.
He said: “Police Scotland announced plans to extend the role of ARV officers to allow them to be deployed to non-firearms calls as well as continuing to provide specialist support to local communities to address the threat from terrorism and serious organised crime. ARV officers will now support colleagues and the public by responding to a wider range of incidents with an emphasis on public protection, vulnerability and speed of response.
“This will include incidents where their enhanced medical skills are of great benefit to the public. Where appropriate, they will also support local and national campaigns, such as drink-driving.
“The revised deployment model will not detract ARV offices from their primary purpose and these officers will continue to be managed by specially-trained supervisors across Scotland. This will ensure that ARV officers remain available to be deployed to firearms and threat to life incidents.”
Mr McInulty wrote to Clarkston, Netherlee and Williamwood councillor David MacDonald ahead of the change.
He said that armed officers would continue to be managed by specially-trained supervisors. And he claimed that would allow ARV officers to remain available for deployment to firearms and “threat to life incidents”.
David MacDonald said: “I think the main reason (for the change) is lack of resources for community policing. They have to draw in officers from other departments to increase presence. ARV officers are like firemen. They have to be operationally ready at a moment’s notice but spend the majority of their time waiting.
“The idea is that while they wait they can be patrolling like unarmed officers. I don’t think it will be more than 10 years before all police officers will be armed.”