(NEW YORK TIMES) TULLIALLAN, Scotland — The United States and Britain are bound by a common language and a shared history, and their law enforcement agencies have been close partners for generations.
But a difference long curious to Americans stands out: Most British police officers are unarmed, a distinction particularly pronounced here in Scotland, where 98 percent of the country’s officers do not carry guns. Rather than escalating a situation with weapons, easing it through talk is an essential policing tool, and is what brought a delegation of top American police officials to this town 30 miles northeast of Glasgow.
Forty minutes into a Scottish police commander’s lecture on the art of firearms-free policing, American law enforcement leaders took turns talking. One after another, their questions sounded like collective head-scratching.
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