Changing face of beat bobbies

No doubt, like myself, many of your readers will have been shocked by the photograph in many national newspapers of three police officers answering a routine call to a fast-food restaurant in Inverness while wearing handguns.

As a former police civilian employee, the idea of letting armed officers substitute for ordinary unarmed bobbies is akin to being on a very perilous road indeed.

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House has a lot to answer for the way he is slowly eroding the time-honoured traditions of the bobby on the beat.

I was glad to get out before Police Scotland came into being in April last year as I saw the way things were heading downhill in many respects – and the closure of public counters at many local stations did not come as a surprise.

Most people admire officers who take on the added burden of firearms duties, but that makes concerns about armed officers routinely responding to run-of-the-mill incidents all the more acute.

It is apparent Sir Stephen is relaxed about elite officers being used this way and, hopefully, he’ll be called to explain his unilateral decision to deploy firearms officers as if they were beat bobbies.

Anybody who thinks these armed officers are only in the cities is definitely deluded and before long they will be spotted in the Borders as well – make no mistake of that. In fact they likely already are – just keep your eyes peeled.

Susan Hill

Ettrickhaugh Road