Police officers in Scotland, like their colleagues in England, generally do not carry firearms while they work.
England has a long tradition of this type of policing and roughly 2/3 of British officers would like to continue the tradition of not carrying on the job. However, the converse is true in Scotland where roughly 2/3 of Scottish officers would prefer carrying a firearm while on the job.
There is significant support for armed policing among rank-and-file officers, according to the poll by the Scottish Police Federation (SPF).
The union, which has voiced support for a wider roll-out of firearms, said officers feel “vulnerable and ill-equipped”.
Vice-chairman David Hamilton said: “This survey shows the clear capability gap that police officers in Scotland currently have.
“It is the officers responding to day-to-day calls that are at the greatest risk from spontaneous violence.”
Nearly 64% of 4200 officers surveyed by the SPF said they would like to routinely carry a handgun.
Even more interestingly, almost 80% of the United Kingdom’s (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) officers would prefer that the nation move to a “Norwegian model.” In this model officers would be trained to shoot, but would not necessarily carry while on duty.
However, having armed police on regular duty has caused some controversy in Scotland where the average citizen may not sympathize with the plight of police officers.
Police Scotland has around 600 fully-trained firearms officers, although only about 400 are full-time.
Armed officers can now only be deployed to incidents where there is a serious threat to life.
Needless to say, this will likely continue to be an issue for authorities in the U.K. as they attempt to find new ways to protect the population without putting their officers at undue risk.