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Area inspector who dealt with armed siege in Wick steps down


By David G Scott

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Police Scotland’s acting area inspector for Caithness who dealt with the recent siege at Wick’s Glamis Road has stepped down from that position, it was announced last week.

The revelation came at a meeting of the Association of Caithness Community Councils (ACCC), in Watten Village Hall on Wednesday evening, in which officer Stephen Mezals said that Kay Macrae, currently based at Dingwall, took up the role on May 27.

Former Caithness Area Inspector Stephen Mezals outside Watten village hall. Picture: DGS
Former Caithness Area Inspector Stephen Mezals outside Watten village hall. Picture: DGS
Meeting at Watten of the Association of Caithness Community Councils last week. Picture: DGS
Meeting at Watten of the Association of Caithness Community Councils last week. Picture: DGS

“I took over in July 2022 on a temporary basis after the retirement of the previous inspector but now they’ve found an officer who’s been promoted and able to come up and be the Caithness inspector on a permanent basis,” said Sgt Mezals.

He added that Inspector Kay Macrae was formerly the sergeant covering the force’s west section of ‘North Highland’, which includes Ullapool and surrounding areas. The former acting area inspector has now relinquished that role and returned to his base post as a sergeant in the community policing team covering Wick and Thurso.

The officer was recently involved in the Wick siege which involved specialist armed officers from Inverness being deployed during a standoff in Glamis Road after a man barricaded himself in a house with two other people and appeared to have a weapon.

“It’s a fairly unusual event but it does happen and we’ll have a siege or standoff between us and the person we’re concerned about whether a suspect of a crime but usually it’s because they’re vulnerable and a risk to themselves.

The armed siege that took place at Glamis Road in Wick last month. Picture: DGS
The armed siege that took place at Glamis Road in Wick last month. Picture: DGS

“The threat they make to the police and the public make it unsafe for us to have that immediate approach. We have to make a careful and considered approach that often results in us providing containment to protect the public from any conceived threat.

“And we have to negotiate. More often than not, we manage to resolve these matters quite peacefully through effective communication and negotiation.

“However, there are occasions when that doesn’t work and we have to escalate to the next step which may involve a public order deployment to the house with protected officers with helmets, pads and shields.

“Sometimes it involves the use of firearms with an armed response vehicle, particularly when knife blades or firearms are involved.”

Armed officers were deployed from Inverness at the standoff in Wick. Picture: DGS
Armed officers were deployed from Inverness at the standoff in Wick. Picture: DGS
Police operation at Glamis Road in Wick last month when a house was laid siege. Picture: DGS
Police operation at Glamis Road in Wick last month when a house was laid siege. Picture: DGS

The officer said that similar incidents he has been involved with have been “resolved peacefully”. Talking about the success of the Glamis Road operation, he said that it went well with one man arrested and taken to hospital “for his own welfare” but with no significant injuries reported.

“Once they were satisfied with his condition he was discharged back into the care of the police.”




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