Argyll’s sister Atlantic islands of Tiree and Coll share a lone policeman, PC Stephen Tanner, who stays on Tiree.
He’s away on holiday and. for whatever reason, the authority concerned, Strathclyde Police, did not bother to send a holiday replacement.
Then a tourist driving on the island, who may or may not have had drink taken, chose a tractor as a rather of out of scale adversary. The incident was reported to HQ who sent two officers to the island in a high-spec crime busting Eurocopter equipped to address Tirisdeachs from 1,000 feet up with the Skyshout public address system.
The resident population of corncrakes undoubtedly returned the salute from the ground.
The tourist was breathtested, arrested for drink driving and has since paid a visit to Oban Sheriff Court.
National press reports claim the helicopter trip cost £1,800 and Oban South and the Isles Councillor, Fred Hall – a former Chief Inspector with sweeping experience of policing, is calling the Strathclyde force to account for its failure simply to supply a relief officer while PC Tanner is… tanning, or whatever.
Councillor Hall is quoted as noting that there are more police officers in the Strathclyde force – 8,125 – than has been the case since 1974, neatly removing the excuse of understaffing.
The population of the two islands under PC Tanner’s normal care numbers around 1,000. Styrathclyde Police say that they are under no obligation to provide a year round police presence there.
In the case of remote islands with small populations it seems obvious to have some sort of Special Constable arrangement – a couple of local people with appropriate training and equipment, taking on the responsibility on a part time basis.