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Dunblane father says police chief gun claims "wrong"

THE father of a Dunblane victim has hit out at attempts to use the tragedy as an excuse to routinely arm police.

Dr Mick North, whose five-year-old daughter Sophie was killed when Thomas Hamilton opened fire at the town's primary school, said Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House was wrong for suggesting armed police could have helped prevent incidents like the 1996 massacre.

Dr North described the single police force's policy as retrograde. He also questioned what difference gun-toting police would have made to an incident that was over before officers arrived.

Dr North said: "I can't see how any armed police would have stopped Dunblane - not at all. We know that it took 15 minutes until any police officer arrived at the school, when the incident was all over in three minutes.

"I can't help but disagree with his decision."

Sophie — described by her father as "bright and beautiful" — was killed alongside 15 fellow pupils inside the school's gymnasium. Class teacher Gwen Mayor was also shot dead, before loner Hamilton turned the gun on himself.

At a meeting of Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Association on June 25, Sir Stephen was forced to defend his decision to arm officers across Scotland.

He cited both Dunblane and the 2010 Cumbria shootings as he argued officers should not have to spend "an extra 5,10,15, 20 minutes" arming themselves.

But Dr North is adamant neither atrocity would have been prevented by having armed police readily available. He said: "For Sir Stephen House to cite Dunblane as a cause behind the routine arming of police is wrong."

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