Police chief calls for independent advisory body
Dr Ian Oliver
Dr Ian Oliver, Chief Constable of Grampian, who, as head of the Central Scotland force, knew Hamilton.

Dr IAN OLIVER, the Chief Constable of Grampian, who, as head of the Central Scotland force, knew Thomas Hamilton, has called for the creation of a full-time, independent firearms advisory body.

In one of 100 submissions which have been accepted by Lord Cullen LINK and were made public yesterday, Dr Oliver said his work with the firearms consultative committee had convinced him of the need for such a body.

Dr Oliver said its role should be an overview of the working of all firearms' legislation and give advice to parliament, the police, Customs, the shooting trade and the shooting community.

He said the chief constables' association believed that the body should be pro-active, in the hope that problems could be quickly identified and resolved.

"At present the only recourse is to the criminal or civil courts, and I believe that to be wrong."  Dr Oliver told Lord Cullen he found himself in the "unenviable position" of not only being a member of the firearms consultative committee, and chairman of the association's committee responsible for firearms matters, but a former chief constable of Central Scotland who had known Hamilton.

Dr Oliver said that there could be no doubt that current firearms acts were so complex that the law was neither clear nor easily found.  He said the draft act and appeals document had been compiled in response to a need for change to the "ill-conceived and hastily produced" 1988 act.

"The opportunity then to review completely our whole approach to firearms control was lost ..."

Dr Oliver said the tightening of controls on pump-action shotguns had been nothing short of a disaster.  "No-one knew who possessed those weapons in the first place, and most have simply disappeared.

"Equally, the police service was given neither the time nor the money to cope with the administrative burden the 1988 act placed upon it.  Worse still, even where the need for change had been identified, the legislative machinery had been slow to react.

In its submissions, the Scottish Target Shooting Federation attacked the tabloid press for its portrayal of Hamilton as a monster.  The federation said Hamilton - a member of Stirling Rifle and Pistol Club - had been described as a mentally unstable man who had become deranged, seemingly holding grudges against society and particular parts of the community.

"The Dunblane tragedy involved the use of firearms, but its not difficult to envisage a deranged man causing similar havoc by other means."  [Ed ~ But why mislead?  It was deranged, Masonic "Brothers" of Thomas Hamilton who covered up for him over many years.  Why did Lord Cullen not ask Dr Ian Oliver if he was a Freemason?  Whether he was or was not, it would have cleared some of the mist from his restrained inquiry. LINK]

The federation said that it was "to be wondered" whether Hamilton's grudge against society had not been because he had been "ostracised, shunned and vilified by various parts of the community".

The federation agreed this was not an excuse or justification for Hamilton's actions.

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