Top judge tells Kenny MacAskill to resign over ‘secretive’ decision to arm police officers on patrol
THE former judge says he is angry at the decision to routinely arm officers on patrol and he believes MacAskill should not continue to hold office as Justice Secretary.
Lord McCluskey said he is angry at the “ secretive” decision to routinely arm specialist police officers on patrol .
He added: “His actions on this and other issues have led me to conclude that he should not continue to hold office as Justice Secretary .”
It follows growing anger over routine arming of police .
Armed officers were sent to a fight at an Inverness fast-food chain and to a road accident in Glasgow.
McCluskey said: “I fear the firearms policy could be the thin end of the wedge, that it may lead to the wider arming of police and an Americanisation of the Scottish police force.
“In the US, we have seen the dangers of police with guns. If police have guns, there is a greater risk of someone being shot, unintentionally or otherwise.”
Opposition MSPs backed Lord McCluskey’s stance.
Scottish Labour justice spokesman Graeme Pearson said: “He confirms all that I have said in the past year. Mr MacAskill must consider his position in the light of the shortcomings he has presided over.”
Scottish Tory justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell added: “There is a blatant lack of real
scrutiny and transparency at Police Scotland level and Kenny MacAskill’s.”
Lib Dem justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes said: “His intervention is a blow to the Justice Secretary’s authority and highlights Kenny MacAskill’s divisive demeanour.”
McCluskey has been a vocal critic of SNP justice policy and spoke out against plans to abolish the centuries-old rule of corroboration – having evidence from more than one source.
A Scottish Government spokesman said policy on armed officers is under constant review by Police Scotland.
He added: “Only 1.6 per cent of the total police officer workforce have standing firearms authority to carry weapons on duty.
“We remain fully committed to the abolition of the corroboration rule.”
Another former High Court judge, Lord Bonomy, is reviewing what safeguards may be needed
if the rule is scrapped.