Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why we need to keep guns off our police

Most people understand why I am so passionate about not having police walking casually around Highland streets wearing Glocks. It is not just Glocks and the attitude they engender toward problem solving, but also how the decision was made. One man, the chief constable, decided to make this drastic change with no regard for public consultation--or even alerting the Highland Council to what he was doing. Since the arbitrary decsion, we have had armed police visit the council (shades of Caesar crossing the Rubicon), and nonsense explanations one after another. First, it would take too long to put on their guns (a demonstration had them gear up in 2 minutes); there are only 2% armed; it is a response to too many guns in the Highlands; or worst of all, the chief constable had 'intelligence' indicating the possibility of a potential future threat.  That last excuse brought back the long dark shadows of Iraq and the suicide of a misquoted advisor.

And then there is the way the public reaction has been handled.

The Chief Constable said that critics were mishief makers and working to a different agenda. The Justice Minister said arming police was an operational decision and within the remit of the chief constable. He tried to disavow any responsibility for the decision and continued that the police needed to be free of  'politics', which by all accounts translated as free of accountability. When did armed police own the streets free of any accountability in a civil society? When did they stop being public servants?

Now while this storm is blowing up over here, the tragic death of a young black man in  Ferguson, Missouri comes along like the spectre of policing future. If any one has wondered why I was so passionate about this issue, please take a look at this link that my daughter sent me to a British ex pat in America taking a look at the issue.

Here is an English expat comedian on the issue of police in Ferguson, which I daresay is a wake up call to us here in the Highlands.

We should be proud of the fact that we in the Highlands are seen to be leading the objections to routine arming of police. Write to your paper, email your representative, do not let this issue be ignored or crowded out by referendum issues. This is an issue for where we live right here, right now.


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