Police Scotland told to apologise over firearms debacle



Kate Frame

The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) has recommended that Police Scotland apologise after an incident last July in which officers pointed firearms at several people and forced a man out of his home at gunpoint in Edinburgh.

During a period of about 90 minutes on 22 July last year, authorised firearms officers (AFOs) were deployed seven times in the city. Events unfolded after a man made an emergency call saying that five men were outside his flat with guns, tasers and knives.

In a report published yesterday, PIRC commissioner Kate Frame recommended that Police Scotland:

  • Apologises to those named in the full report for the actions of its officers and provide them with a clear rationale for these apologies.
  • Examines and investigates the individual actions of the officers named in the full PIRC report.
  • Ensures that all officers in charge of or who form part of any firearms operations apply the National Decision Model’s principles.
  • Ensures that all ‘firearms incidents’ (where a person serving with the police has used a firearm) is identified and declared, to allow the Chief Constable to comply with his duties in terms of the Police Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006, as amended and Regulation 3 of the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Investigations Procedure, Serious Incidents and Specified Weapons) Regulations 2013
  • That the system to ensure that ITFC’s/TFCs are timeously sighted on all available information which may impact on decisions made is adhered to.
  • Reports to the Commissioner within three months of the date of issue of this report, on action taken to implement the above recommendations.

Ms Frame said: “While these were fast-moving events which related to a number of significant issues, it resulted in four Armed Response Vehicles and nine firearms officers being deployed on seven occasions and police pointing their guns at eleven people on three separate occasions over a period of less than an hour and a half.

“A number of these people were detained and searched on the strength, principally of allegations made by an unidentifiable male and this action in a number of instances appears to have been entirely unwarranted.

“The recommendations have already been discussed with Police Scotland and I know that senior officers have already taken steps to implement some of my recommendations.”