Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has expressed his concern at plans by Police Scotland to deploy Tasers in Shetland.
Mr Scott spoke with local Chief Inspector Lindsay Tulloch this week regarding plans to train five officers in Shetland for the use of Tasers. Similar plans are also in place for Orkney and the Western Isles to train officers between now and August.
Commenting, Mr Scott said:
“Police officers carry out difficult and dangerous work on our behalf and there is no question that they must be equipped to do their job safely.
“However, over recent years it has at no point been suggested that there is an increased level of threat in Shetland, either in terms of police or public safety. A more extensive deployment of Tasers has been justified nationally by Police Scotland. This is based on an assessment of risk across Scotland. It is difficult to see how this can be applied to policing in the islands where there has been a reduction in reported offences in the year to date.
“Community policing in Shetland is, like everywhere, founded on the principle of consent. In this context, the prospect of officers attending routine incidents armed with Tasers is highly questionable.
“As this is a national initiative I am writing to the Chief Constable asking for the risk assessment that justifies this approach in Shetland. This looks like city policing being imposed in the islands.”