Security guards and self-defence classes could be brought in to protect MSPs

It comes after MP Sir David Amess was killed at his constituency surgery last month.

Security guards and self-defence classes could be brought in to protect MSPs PA Media

Security guards could be sent to surgeries alongside MSPs after the death of MP Sir David Amess, it has been announced.

Members may also be offered self-defence or de-escalation training under new plans from the Scottish Parliament.

Holyrood is responsible for the security of MSPs, with a new project being launched to look into the possibility of sending guards to protect members.

In an update from the parliament’s head of resilience and sustainability, Lynsey Hamill, MSPs were told of the development along with the offer of training and security advice.

Sir David was killed last month while at a surgery in his constituency in Essex, prompting renewed concerns over the safety of politicians.

Hamill wrote: “The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) recognises that safety at surgery meetings is of particular concern right now.

“It has therefore commissioned a project that will assess whether we might centrally provide security operatives to accompany members at surgery meetings.

“Most likely such a service would require a procurement exercise to give us external personnel to call upon across the country, but we shall engage widely with members to assess potential demand and, if required, how best such a service might work.

“In the meantime, the previous advice issued by the security office after Sir David Amess’s death is still completely relevant so please ensure you follow it as best you can.”

The parliamentary security office has also been asked to look into giving self-defence classes or de-escalation training to MSPs, although Hamill suggested a final decision was far from being made.

“The SPCB also requested that the security office look into some form of self-defence and/or de-escalation training,” she said.

“Equally, the corporate body is understandably concerned that none of us should put ourselves in harm’s way.

“Consequently, officials have been asked to undertake a full assessment of the issues associated with providing such training. I will keep you informed of progress.”

The SPCB – a group of cross-party MSPs who deal with the day-to-day running of the parliament – agreed “in principle” that police should inspect the homes, offices and Edinburgh residences of members, with the recommendations implemented to boost security.

While the inspections will not be mandatory for members, Hamill said: “We anticipate most members would want to make use of this service. A project has been established to take forward implementation.

“It will also consider possible tax implications for security modifications to members’ home and Edinburgh accommodation.

“The SPCB agreed that central support must be provided to members so that the burden of finding contractors to carry out work does not fall on members or their staff.

“The security office already provides central support for members when upgrading local office security and will provide the same support for home and Edinburgh accommodation.”

Labour MSP and SPCB member Clare Baker said during a question session on Thursday that cost would not be an impediment to ensuring the safety of politicians.

Police Scotland will also provide an annual safety briefing to members

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