MSP supports U-turn but demands answers

John Pentland
John Pentland

Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland has welcomed a Police Scotland U-turn on firearms, but blasted the Scottish Police Authority for its ineptitude, and the Scottish Government for its inaction.

Specialist armed police officers will only be deployed to firearms incidents or where there is a threat to life, following concerns raised by John and others about armed officers undertaking routine duties.

He said: “I welcome the change of heart and know people in Motherwell and Wishaw will be relieved, but the way the U-turn had to be fought for by councils, opposition MSPs and the media raises major questions about the competency of the Justice Secretary and the police watchdog, the SPA.

“Policing by consent is vital, but the Scottish Police Authority has shown itself to be ill informed about what is happening in the police force and it has clearly failed in its responsibility to hold the Chief Constable to account.

“Transparency and accountability are essential for informed decision making by the SPA, but such information from Police Scotland was notable by its absence.

“Additionally, the Scottish Government need to answer why they stood on the side-lines, professing impotence to act, for more than a year.”