We are very fortunate in SW Scotland to have a Firearms and Explosives Department based at Dumfries who offer a service the envy of other departments within Police Scotland. Our Firearms Manager John Williams is approachable, knowledgeable and user friendly. He will readily deal with a legal enquiry over the telephone and responds to written requests almost by return. To my knowledge the record for a one to one variation having requested it on the telephone is 29 minutes. Yes 29 minutes. One to one variations often take as long as it takes you to drive to police Head Quarters where you will find your new FAC waiting at reception. On a scale of service we are regularly offered a platinum service.
Our FEO, Dave Wood sets himself targets to turn work around. Reminders to renew are often accompanied by a telephone call to get you brain into gear. Home visits are personally, quickly and professionally completed with certificates arriving in days (normally under a week) rather than months as we so often hear about.
How unfortunate it is to learn that three of our four FEO’s are being replaced in a futile attempt to save money. All of the expertise, experience and knowledge will be lost. They are to be replaced by uniformed officers who will attend a three day course before being unleashed on firearm certificate holders. These new FEO’s will be expected to continue with their normal police duties and fit in the firearms enquiries when and if they get the chance. What service will this offer the paying public. Mr Wood has been told to reapply for his position but at a salary some £5000 less than he receives now.
Our long standing, dedicated and highly experienced Firearms Manager is being replaced by someone based in Glasgow. No local knowledge or control.
If you think this doesn’t concern you think again. The entire project is being rolled out across the whole of Police Scotland. The same Police Scotland who wanted every officer armed (they even ordered the Glocks) and who by the Assistant Chief Constables own admission continues to abuse stop and search powers.