Police defend nationwide force against critics

Police Scotland firearms officers Specialist firearms officers carry a Taser and a holstered handgun

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Police in the Highlands have denied that the Scotland-wide force is operating a one-size-fits-all policy.

It follows a row over the deployment of armed officers on routine patrols.

Ch Supt Julian Innes, the area's divisional commander, told BBC Scotland: "I make most of the local decisions that take place here.

"But there are some standards across the whole of Scotland that, quite rightly, the senior management team will make."

Scotland's eight police forces merged into Police Scotland in April 2013 and critics claim that fears about centralisation and a loss of local accountability following the amalgamation are becoming a reality.

Regional conditions

Councillors in the Highlands have criticised the police for deploying armed police on regular patrols.

Meanwhile, in Dumfries and Galloway, there are concerns about an increase in stop and search methods as well as more licensing restrictions on events like the Wickerman Festival.

However, senior officers say all policy decisions can be reconsidered to take account of regional conditions and concerns.

"Things are different across Scotland and, if we use the firearms as an example, the amount of officers that are deployed routinely using firearms here is completely different to other parts of Scotland where the threat and risk is different," insisted Ch Supt Mr Innes.

Highland Council last month asked Police Scotland to review its decision to arm officers in its area.

'Central Belt policies'

A small number of specially-trained officers in the area have been routinely carrying side-arms since before April last year.

Cllr David Alston, Highland Council depute leader, said: "It runs so contrary to the real improvements in our society, the reductions in violence.

"Why, at the point when there is less violent crime in the Highlands than ever before, should we suddenly have armed police on the streets? It simply doesn't make sense."

Concerns that the nature of policing is changing were echoed by Cllr Finlay Carson of Dumfries and Galloway Licensing Board.

"I know there were fears initially that, when Police Scotland came into force, we would get Central Belt policies applied across the country and it would appear that these fears have come true and we're seeing Strathclyde policing policies imposed in rural areas - something that we didn't really want to see."

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    Young pupil

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    James Hamilton Heritage Park in Stewartfield,East Kilbride

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    sexual assault

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    Book

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    Veronica: In Gullane library we have group called knit and knatter on a Monday. Most recently they held a murder mystery evening.

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    Woman in library

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  56.  
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    Kevin McHattie

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  63.  
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    HMS Triumph

    HMS Talent and HMS Triumph will move to Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde at Faslane, by 2020.

    The MoD said this was another step towards HMNB Clyde becoming home to all of the UK's submarines.

     
  64.  
    08:46: Tune in Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    On today's programme we're asking: Should 16 and 17-year-olds be allowed to vote in all elections? Also, with Book Week Scotland running until 30 November, are libraries relevant to you?

    The lines are open now: 0500 92 95 00 and text using 80295.

    Listen live to today's show here.

     
  65.  
    08:38: Get Involved

    Louise Welsh tweets: I'll be on @BBCRadioScot around 9.25am this morning talking about #libraries for @BookWeekScot (I'm a fan)

     
  66.  
    08:27: And on the back pages?

    Could Kris Commons be on his way out at Celtic?

    Kris Commons

    This, and all the latest on Ally McCoist at Rangers, in today's football gossip.

     
  67.  
    08:23: Mixed night for Eve

    Scotland's curlers endured a mixed third day at the European Championships in Switzerland with both the men and the women losing matches.

    Eve Muirhead's rink beat world champions Switzerland 7-5 but conceded to Russia after the minimum six ends at 8-2 down.

    Scotland skip Eve Muirhead

    The men led by Dave Edwards succumbed 7-4 to Germany - who are newly promoted from the European second tier.

    The women have won three games from five; the men have won two from five.

     
  68.  
    08:17: What's on the front pages?

    The findings of the inquiry into the country's worst clostridium difficile outbreak dominate the front pages of the Scottish newspapers.

    Scotland's newspapers

    The Daily Record headlines '34 Needless Deaths', while the report has laid bare "shocking failings" of care at the Vale of Leven Hospital according to The Herald.

    The inquiry exposed a series of NHS failures, says The Scotsman while The Times says patients were failed by "neglect and delay". Meanwhile, The Scottish Daily Mail lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of "hospital chiefs" who presided over "systemic failures".

    Read our full paper review.

     
  69.  
    08:13: Travel update BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Glasgow M8 - J27 Arkleston - entry slip is partially blocked by an accident, four cars involved and debris on road heading eastbound. The accident is at the end of the slip road with lane one (of three) now closed on the main carriageway to clear the debris. Police, ambulance and fire crews in attendance; congestion back to J30 M898 (Erskine Bridge). Travel time is 40 minutes.

     
  70.  
    08:10: Leadership hopefuls set out tax positions

    Scottish Labour leadership candidate Jim Murphy is urging his party to support the full devolution of income tax to Holyrood.

    Jim Murphy, Sarah Boyack and Neil Findlay are contesting the Scottish Labour leadership

    Rival Sarah Boyack said she has "reservations" about full income tax devolution but wants consensus.

    Third candidate Neil Findlay said care must be taken to make sure Scotland does not end up worse off.

    Labour officially supports sharing income tax between the Scottish and UK parliaments.

     
  71.  
    08:04: Coming up... Gary Robertson BBC Radio Scotland

    Pilot scheme to alert people about potentially violent partner starts in Ayrshire & Aberdeen. @policescotland & @scotwomensaid #bbcgms 0810

    Good Morning Scotland

    You can listen live to BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme here.

     
  72.  
    08:02: Weather update BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Morning! Gillian here. A cold start in the North with frost & mist/fog, slow to clear. Central belt southwards is milder, with mist and drizzle. Mostly dry today, but patchy rain for Dumfries & Galloway, Ayrshire, Glasgow area and Argyll. Best of the sunshine in the Western Isles & north-west Highlands. Feeling cold, 6-8C.

     
  73.  
    08:01: North Sea tax reform urged

    Business leaders have renewed calls for a North Sea tax break after a survey suggested confidence in the sector was at its lowest level for six years.

    Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) found operators were concerned about the effect of low oil prices on exploration and production.

    North Sea oil production

    It said reform of the industry's fiscal regime was needed in Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement next week.

    The Treasury said the government was committed to maximising resources.

    AGCC's latest Oil and Gas Survey showed 62% of oil and gas firms believed tax reforms should be the government's top priority for the sector.

     
  74.  
    08:00: Welcome Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    Good morning and a warm welcome to Tuesday's Scotland Live as we bring you the latest news and sporting headlines - with reaction and your comments too - between now and 18:00.

     

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