Bobbi Kristina Brown dies aged 22

Bobbi Kristina Brown daughter recently singer Whitney Houston has died aged 22 a household representative has stated

Kristen Promote stated she died on Sunday encircled by her family and it was finally peaceful within the arms of God

Brown is discovered face lower and unresponsive inside a bath tub on 31 The month of january and put into a medically caused coma She never obtained awareness

She was gone to live in a hospice within the town of Duluth Georgia last month after her condition deteriorated

Brown was the only real daughter of Houston and R&B singer Bobby Brown

Houston was discovered dead inside a hotel bath in La this year

The household published a photograph of Houston with Bobbi Kristina like a baby on whitneyhoustoncom using the following message:

It’s difficult to say goodbye On Sunday This summer 26 Bobbi Kristina Brown made her transition quietly The household thanks everybody for his or her loving ideas and hopes As Bobbi Kristina would say: The wind is behind me and also the sun is within my face

Bobbi Kristina Brown died This summer 26 2015 encircled by her family Ms Promote added

She’s finally peaceful within the arms of God You want to again thank everybody for his or her considerable amount of affection and support throughout these last couple of several weeks

Singer Dionne Warwick Whitney Houstons cousin referred to Bobbi Kristina like a sweetheart

She’ll be skipped thats without a doubt She would be a good girl She would be a good young girl She actually was she told Bravos Watch What Goes On Live

Other stars compensated tribute on Twitter including Selma director Ava DuVernay who stated: She appeared to become caught within the web of celebrity upon arrival Twenty-two years An unfortunate finish May the sister have peace now

The BBCs Regan Morris in La states Brown had imagined of transporting on her behalf moms legacy like a singer and actress coupled with a couple of small TV roles – but her career had not removed

Yesterday she was based in the bath tub Brown had tweeted: Allows start this career up&&moving To For You ALLLL quick we could !?!???!

She started carrying out together with her mother as soon as 1999 singing duets of My Love is the Love and recording Little Drummer Boy for any holiday album in 2003

She was come to hospital two times with anxiety after her moms dying

In The month of january police stated Brown was discovered inside a bath tub within the suburban Atlanta home she distributed to Nick Gordon the guy she known as her husband A police report referred to the incident like a drowning

Mr Gordon stated at that time she didn’t seem to be breathing and didn’t have a pulse before emergency services showed up Although she was discovered face lower in her own bath the 22-year-old also had bruises around the front of her body

Government bodies later came to the conclusion that they had experienced injuries to her face and mouth inside a vehicle crash a few days earlier saying they weren’t caused by foul play

Brown was put into a medically-caused coma coupled with been breathing using a ventilator before she died on Sunday

Chilled relations between Mr Gordon and Browns relatives found a mind in June when her court-hired representative prosecuted Gordon accusing him of misrepresenting his relationship together with her

He was purported to have moved $11000 (£7091) of Browns funds into a free account controlled exclusively by him while she was at hospital but never was billed

As her health deteriorated recently US government bodies stated they’d be looking at the conditions of her condition with greater interest

A comment regarding a charging decision or no is going to be made when needed Fulton County Da Paul L Howard Junior told People magazine

Bolt arrives to light up Glasgow

26 July 2014 Last updated at 21:03

These Commonwealth Games would have carried on without him. They probably would have thrived without him. Usain Bolt admitted so himself.

Usain Bolt pleased to be at the Commonwealth Games

Bolt – The champion becomes a legend

Media circus follows Usain Bolt

Could you beat Usain Bolt in a race

Where would he be staying? The athletes village, but mainly in his room. I try not to walk around too much because I tend to have to take a lot of pictures,” he explained, as if without a care

A star-struck Australian journalist asked for a selfie, gushing None of us are here for work, we are here as fans The Jamaican obliged.

Twenty minutes after the show had begun, it was over. Bolt sat back, raised both arms and gave a Churchillian salute before walking to the front of the stage to shake and slap an outstretched hand or two, as if he were a pop star satisfying an appreciative crowd.

There were gifts, too, although the chances of seeing Bolt wear a tartan hat with red hair around its trim are slim.

He eventually left as unceremoniously as he had arrived. It had been fun, just like the Friendly Games are supposed to be It was laid-back, just like the man himself. And it cranked up the excitement for the rest of the Games, just like it was supposed to

Zoo owner in animal welfare charges

Peter Lockhart was the co-owner of the Fife Animal Park, Cupar, which closed in February after it could not be sold

A zoo owner is facing animal welfare charges including leaving an emu suffering from a beak ulcer.

Peter Lockhart was the co-owner of the Fife Animal Park, Cupar, which closed in February after it could not be sold.

Mr Lockhart faces allegations of causing animals unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure their welfare.

It is alleged between 24 January 2013 and 14 February 2014 Mr Lockhart failed to provide animals with a suitable, clean and ventilated environment

He is also accused of buying lemurs, tortoises, marmosets and wildcats without permission.

Prosecutors at Dundee Sheriff Court said Mr Lockhart also displayed and offered for sale three Hermann’s tortoises at the park between 27 June 2010 and 14 February 2014.

Three further charges accused Lockhart of failing to apply and identify three animals including a zebra at the park with “horse passports

He is further alleged to have failed to provide adequate bedding and a suitable balanced and varied diet, failing to provide treatment from conditions they were suffering from and failing to protect the animals from injury, suffering and disease.

Another allegation states that he failed to provide sufficient nutrition to two Hermann’s tortoises, while a third alleges he failed to provide treatment to an emu for ulceration to its beak as well as failing to provide it with “a suitable environment or exposure to external stimuli

Further charges claim he bought and displayed “for commercial gain two ring tailed lemurs, one red-ruffed lemur, two black and white-ruffed lemurs, five Swinhoe’s pheasants, an eagle owl, two barn owls, two wildcats, a Lesser Sulphone Crested cockatoo and a Geoffrey’s marmoset without authority to do so

Mr Lockhart, 50, from Newton of Falkland, Fife, faces a total of 16 charges under the Animal Health and Welfare Act, the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations and the Horse Identification (Scotland) Regulations

Defence solicitor Amy Fox said Mr Lockhart was not yet in a position to enter a plea in the case

Sheriff Charles Macnair QC continued the case without plea for three weeks for discussions between the Crown and defence lawyers

Fife Animal Park closed to the public in February. The 10-acre park housed 76 species including a zebra, Shetland ponies, meerkats, raccoons and owls.

The park was put up for sale in 2013, but this was blocked by the charity regulator as it wanted to clarify which animals were owned by the Fife Animal Trust

Shortly after its closure, Fife Council’s protective services senior manager Roy Stewart said: The welfare of the animals at Fife Animal Park is our primary concern at this time.

Although Fife Council doesn’t own the park or the animals it has a duty to protect them and legally they are now in our care

Shortly after its closure nine wallabies and an emu were adopted by the Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder

Fukushima workers sue over pay

Tepco has been employing about 6,000 workers a day to decommission the Fukushima nuclear plant

Workers decommissioning Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have sued its operator Tokyo Electric (Tepco) over unpaid hazard pay.

The four men are demanding about 65m yen (£375,000; $620,000) in extra pay.

They claim the compensation for removing contaminated debris and patrolling the plant has been inadequate given the risks involved.

It is the first time Tepco has faced legal action from Fukushima workers over pay and working conditions.

The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes says if they win, it could set a precedent for thousands of other workers to come forward.

The lawsuit was filed by two current and two former workers at Fukushima.

The Japanese utility company had no immediate comment.

“My health may be harmed some day,” one of the workers was quoted as telling Japanese broadcaster NHK. “I believe there are many people who can’t speak out about this kind of problem.

“I may get fired or may be given no further work. But I hope people will take this as an opportunity to speak up and get paid.”

Fukushima fallout

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors went into meltdown after a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 knocked out reactor cooling systems at the plant.

Subsequent radiation leaks made the surrounding areas around the plant unfit for habitation.

Tens of thousands of people had to leave their homes and businesses because of radioactive contamination, with the majority still unable to return home.

The facility is operated by Tepco, which has spent billions of dollars on the clean-up and decommissioning of the plant.

About 6,000 people have been working at the plant daily over the last two months, and the lawsuit is demanding that they either be paid directly by Tepco or the government.

However, many are employed by contractors and subcontractors.

Our correspondent says that there have long been complaints that many subcontractors are not paying their workers properly, and allegations that some are connected to Japan’s Yakuza crime gangs.

The lawsuit claims that the subcontractors profit from the funds allocated for the decommissioning at the expense of worker wages.

The lawyer co-ordinating the case on behalf of the Fukushima workers said at least two more people were expected to join the lawsuit.

Last month another court ordered Tepco to pay damages to the family of an evacuee, Hamako Watanabe, who killed herself after she was forced to leave her home because of radioactive contamination.

Euro inflation nears five year low

shoppers in Hamburg

The eurozone inflation rate has fallen to 0.3% in August, near a five-year low, adding to fears of a deflationary spiral, according to Eurostat figures

That compares with a rate of 0.4% in July.

The drop, driven by lower food and energy prices, will add to pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to take action to stimulate the economy

Separate figures showed the unemployment rate remained near a record high at 11.5% in July

The ECB meets next Thursday to decide on interest rates

Most analysts are not expecting any action yet, but speculation is growing that in the coming months it may inject money into the system, a practice called quantitative easing, in the hope of stimulating growth and pushing up prices.

Mario Draghi, head of the ECB, has previously described inflation at below 1% to be in a danger zone

There is plenty of ammunition here… to argue for more policy support wrote Jennifer McKeown from Capital Economics in a research note,

While the Bank is unlikely to act at its meeting next week, it is likely to hint that quantitative easing is firmly on the table she added.

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, rose to 0.9% from 0.8%.

Deflation isn’t always a disaster. It depends on the circumstances. But in the eurozone’s current situation, even positive but very low inflation is troublesome, never mind the outright deflation that might be lurking.

The reason is debt. Households, firms and governments in many eurozone countries have a lot of it and are trying to get it down.

Falling prices means firms get less cash coming in, and it hits government tax revenue. It can also mean that wages and salaries fall.

But debts do not. Debtors have less cash to deal with a fixed liability.

To look at it another way when interest rates are already low, slowing inflation means that real interest rates are rising

Not what you want in an economy where growth, according to figures for the second quarter of the year, has come to a halt

The jobless figures showed improvements in Spain, Portugal and Ireland. “Along with Germany, these countries accounted for the bulk of the improvement seen over July,” said Timo del Carpio, E uropean economist at RBC.

“The notable exceptions this month were once again the usual culprits. France’s headline rate edged up to 10.3%, driven by a 19,000 increase on the month. More notably, Italy’s unemployment rose to 12.6%, once again a hair’s breadth short of its record peak,” he added.

Burger King and Tim Hortons in talks

The merged company would become the world’s third largest fast-food chain

Burger King has said it is in takeover talks with Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain.

A merger would create the world’s third-largest fast-food combine, one with a stock market value of about $18bn (£10.9bn; 13.6bn euros).

At close of the US stock market on Monday, Burger King’s shares were up by 19.5%, and those in Tim Hortons by 19%

The firms have said that any new group would have its HQ in Canada, where corporate taxes are lower.

These so-called tax inversion deals are attracting increasing criticism in the US, where President Barack Obama is understood to be looking at how they can be prevented in future.

The US corporate tax rate is 35%, but 26.5% in Ontario, Canada, where Tim Hortons is based.

Burger King’s majority shareholder, 3G Capital, would stay in overall control

The New York and Rio de Janeiro-based investment company bought Burger King in 2010 for about $3.3bn and floated the company in 2012, holding on to nearly 70% of the shares

If a deal goes ahead, the remaining shares will be distributed between the current shareholders of Burger King and Tim Hortons

According to reports, the companies will retain their separate brand identities but save costs by sharing corporate services.

Combined, Burger King and Tim Hortons would have an estimated revenue of $22bn a year from around 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries.

Tim Hortons used to be owned by US fast-food chain Wendy’s, before being spun off as a separate company in 2006

Al Gore sues Al Jazeera America

Presenter of Al Jazeera America in front of studio backdrop.

Former American Vice President Al Gore is suing Al Jazeera America over the sale of a TV network he founded.

Mr Gore and his partners agreed to sell Current TV to the Qatari-owned broadcaster last year.

But Mr Gore and other former shareholders in the company claim Al Jazeera America is trying to retain $65m (£39m) of the purchase money.

They have filed a lawsuit claiming the terms of the contract have not been honoured.

Mr Gore’s lawyer, David Boies, said in a statement Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago

Al Jazeera bought Current TV in August 2013 from a group of shareholders including the channel’s former chief executive, Joel Hyatt. Other investors included Comcast, and the supermarket magnate, Ron Burkle, as well as Mr. Gore

It is Mr Hyatt and Mr Gore who are alleging fraud and breach of contract over the sale, lodging their suit at a Delaware court

They say a portion of the sale price was placed by Al Jazeera into an account to be paid to them this year, but that the money has been withheld

A summary of the case, released by Mr. Gore’s lawyer, stated that Al Jazeera America is in express violation of the merger agreement

Current TV was originally designed as a progressive channel to counter conservative-leaning broadcasters such as Fox News.

Al Jazeera America has not commented on the lawsuit.

Pope beatifies South Korea martyrs

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Seoul: There was a huge cheer at the beatification of 124 of South Korea’s first Catholic martyrs

Pope Francis has celebrated a large open air Mass to beatify 124 of South Korea’s first Catholics at a ceremony in the capital Seoul.

He paid tribute to the Koreans, who died for their faith in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Saturday’s Mass came on the third day of his visit – his first trip to Asia since becoming pope in March 2013.

Pope Francis met survivors of the Sewol ferry disaster and delivered his first public Mass in the region on Friday.

The beatification ceremony was held at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance.

Beatification, or declaring a person “blessed”, is the necessary prelude to full sainthood.

Analysis by Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, Seoul:

There is something in the manner of Pope Francis that seems to win people over, Catholics and non-Catholics, wherever he goes. And he has done it again here in South Korea.

His lack of formality has shone through. On Friday he stopped in the middle of a prepared speech to a gathering of young Catholics and said he wanted to “speak directly from his heart, without reading from a piece of paper,” but that his English was not good enough”. “No!” shouted the 6,000 teenagers in one voice.

There is also plenty of talk, in this status-conscious society, about the Pope’s use of a tiny hatch-back as his official car, most of it approving. The Church is seen in South Korea as a supporter of the poor and the politically dispossessed, so much so that the Korean right has accused it of being ‘socialist’.

In South Korea Pope Francis seems to have found a Catholic clergy and believers who share his vision of what the Church of Rome should be.

The Pope is spending five days in South Korea, where the Catholic Church is growing. It currently has just over 5.4 million members, some 10.4% of the population.

Crowds of worshippers lined the streets leading up to Gwanghwamun Plaza for Saturday’s ceremony The square was the site where unrepentant Catholics were paraded before they were publicly executed

They were willing to make great sacrifices and let themselves be stripped of whatever kept them from Christ  possessions and land, prestige and honour – for they knew that Christ alone was their true treasure, Pope Francis told the crowd in his sermon.

They challenge us to think about what, if anything, we ourselves would be willing to die for.

This is a very significant and poignant moment for the Catholic Church in South Korea because the people who were beatified today were the founders of the church 200 years ago, says the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Seoul.

They were also unique because they were not converted by missionaries who came to Korea but they learnt about Catholicism themselves and brought the books back to Korea to spread the Catholic Church and were executed by the royal authorities for doing so, he adds.

Before Saturday’s Mass got under way, he met some of the survivors and relatives of the South Korean ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people in April this year.

He was later greeted by a rapturous crowd of some 10,000 youths in Dangjin, where he spoke briefly off-the-cuff in English, acknowledging his difficulties with the language

The Pope also flew southeast of Seoul to the hilltop Kkottongnae community established by a priest in the 1970s to look after sick and disabled Koreans. He stopped to pray there at a monument to aborted babies

Meanwhile, China’s leadership failed to receive a telegram sent by the Pope as he flew over the country on his way to South Korea, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said on Friday

It is traditional for the pontiff to send blessings to the leadership of a country he flies over, but this was the first time a pope had been permitted to use Chinese air space

The gesture is seen as significant because the Vatican and China have had no formal ties since the Communist party took power in 1949.

A technical glitch was thought to have stopped the message from being received, which was later resent via the Italian embassy in Beijing, Mr Lombardi said

When mental illness affects your family

Editor’s note: In the comments section below, read the results of a live chat about mental illness between readers and CNN Digital Correspondent Kelly Wallace, mental health expert Dr. Charles Raison, CNN’s Kat Kinsman, who has written about her personal battle with depression and anxiety, celebrity publicist and mental health advocate Terrie M. Williams and clinical social worker Devra Gordon Renner.

(bursa escort) — When we lose a beloved superstar like Robin Williams to an apparent suicide and learn he had been battling severe depression before his death, it’s natural to think about our own loved ones.

We might look around at our adult family members and friends who are suffering and try to get them the help they need, but what we might not see is children and adolescents can get depressed and anxious, too.

And it’s more common than we probably realize.

On any given day, according to studies, it is estimated that about 2% of elementary school age children and about 8% of adolescents suffer from a major depression, and 1 in 5 teens has had a history of depression at some time, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

But how does a parent differentiate between what might be considered normal irritability and moodiness, especially during those teenage years, and signs that something more serious is afoot?

READ: Going public with depression

I think you should start worrying anytime there’s enough of a change when you go, ‘Oh my God they don’t seem like themselves,'” said Dr. Charles Raison, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

Raison says the timeline is key; parents should perk up if for two to three weeks their children are “unremittingly down,” feeling hopeless and negative, if they start to withdraw from friends and activities, and if they experience dramatic changes in sleep.

Depressed teens might have difficulty falling asleep, not be able to fall back asleep after they wake up in the middle of the night or wake up very early in the morning. At the other end of the spectrum, they could be getting excessive amounts of sleep, sometimes sleeping 12 hours or more, psychiatrists say.

For younger kids, detecting depression gets “more complicated” for parents, Raison said, because children below the age of puberty don’t necessarily show the same signs of depression as teens and adults.

The younger the kid, the more scrambled the symptoms can be, he said. “They’re easily upset. They cry more. They’re scared to sleep alone at night. They become irritable. They act out more.

In younger children, parents aren’t likely to see the “classic depressive pattern, Raison said. But you’re still looking for that same larger idea, which is if your kid shows a real maladaptive change in their emotions (and) their behavior, the light needs to go off in your head because something isn’t right

READ: Depression and anxiety: What worked for me

Melissa Atkins Wardy, a mom of two in Janesville, Wisconsin, and author of Redefining Girly, said she was never aware that children as young as her daughter Amelia, who is now 8, could develop anxiety outside of a traumatic experience.

But halfway through first grade, Amelia said she didn’t want to go to school, and reluctance to go to school “morphed into tears and nausea every day and then tears and worry at bedtime, too,” said Atkins Wardy, founder and CEO of the company, Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, which creates empowering T-shirts for girls and boys.

Eventually things just spiraled downward in second grade where her light just went out, she said. I was like her happy childhood had been swallowed up in a dark hole.

Her daughter was eventually diagnosed as suffering from general anxiety and has been seeing a “wonderful” therapist, Atkins Wardy said, for about a year.

When help is needed

Atkins Wardy knew something was wrong and eventually sought professional help, but often parents seek reassurance by telling themselves their child will grow out of the behavior or get better, said Dr. Robert Hendren, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

When the behavior is going on for weeks, it’s really time to assess what’s happening, Hendren said.

READ: What you need to know about childhood depression

The first step in the case of tweens and teens is being direct and discussing the issue head on, asking them, for instance, how they are feeling and if anything happened to make them feel unusually sad, he said.

Most adolescents will answer, said Hendren, who is also a past president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. One of the things that we learn a lot as health care providers is the majority of the kids that we miss who have depression and who may go on and be at risk of suicide are kids who were just never asked.

Parents can also get more information by talking to the people around their child  teachers, coaches, youth directors, even parents of friends.

The parent is trying to gather data: Is my kid just acting unhappy, uncharacteristically unhappy like this at home, or is it being noticed elsewhere outside? because … if it’s also outside, then we’re talking about a larger issue, said psychologist Carl Pickhardt, author of the book Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence” and host of a weekly blog for Psychology Today.

Of course, not many children, if any, will be excited to run off to a therapist’s office if their parents determine they need outside help.

Pickhardt says he deals with this all the time. He tells parents to tell their kids that they don’t have to go and see anybody by themselves, but they do need to go see someone with their parent.

You can choose to say something or not, but at least you can be here to hear what my concerns are and hear what the other person has to say, said Pickhardt, relaying the script he gives parents to use with their children.

I’ve never had a kid not participate, he added.

Signs of suicide risk

Another huge challenge for parents is trying to determine when their child is at risk of suicide.

Hendren, who is also a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, recommends parents ask their children who appear depressed if they ever feel like their life is not worth living, or if they have ever thought about taking their own life.

Raising the issue does not give children the idea of suicide, said Hendren, putting to rest concerns that many parents might have.

All the studies seem to indicate that you don’t have somebody start thinking about suicide by asking them about it. They’re either thinking about it or they’re not

READ: Robin Williams and depression: We all wear a mask

That doesn’t mean it’s an easy discussion for any parent, said Devra Gordon Renner, a clinical social worker in Northern Virginia who has helped hundreds of families deal with childhood depression and anxiety.

Saying to somebody, Are you thinking of harming yourself?  that’s not a comfortable conversation for a parent to have with a child. But it is a healthy conversation, because it is acknowledging that your child may be feeling really bad and letting them know you are there to help and you are taking them seriously, said Gordon Renner, who is also the co author of Mommy Guilt.

When a child says he or she has thoughts that life is not worth living and has considered suicide, those are “ominous signs” that would call for an evaluation by a medical professional experienced with depression and suicide, Hendren said.

If alcohol or other substances might be involved, then the risks really jump because in an altered state of mind, kids seem at a higher risk of doing something that might be harmful.

The stigma remains

Because of the stigma of depression and suicide, too many people are still hesitant to talk about it, even when talking about it helps people who are suffering realize they are not alone, experts say.

It’s amazing that once you start talking about this, other people pop up with, ‘Oh, my cousin had this, my sister had that, said Gordon Renner.

Depression is an illness and it’s a treatable illness, and in some cases it can metastasize and be fatal for some people, and I think it’s important to know that, but it’s rare, she added.

READ: Postpartum depression: One mom’s mission becomes a movement

It was the stigma, in part, that drove Atkins Wardy to publicly share her daughter’s battle with anxiety on Facebook. At first she questioned whether she was compromising her daughter’s privacy.

But since her daughter’s battle was already public as far as her school community was concerned, and after getting private messages from mothers looking for advice to help their daughters who also struggled with anxiety, Atkins Wardy decided the issue was bigger than her and her daughter.

Ultimately, the reason I have continued to share our journey with childhood anxiety is that it is so greatly misunderstood and parents need help, she said.

Had people who had experienced childhood anxiety not been brave enough to reach out to me and teach me what Amelia was experiencing, I think I would have made some really bad parenting choices.

As for her daughter, who went on a low dose of medication a short time ago, she is pretty much back to her old self again.

We have our girl back. This is the person I knew was hiding under the mask of anxiety and I was willing to do anything to get her out.

Have you or any of your loved ones ever battled depression or anxiety? Share in the comments or tell Kelly Wallace on Twitter or CNN Living on Facebook.

For any information on how to talk to a child about depression or where to find help, contact the National Association of Mental Illness.

The British police on armed routine patrol

This picture with armed officers attending a routine disturbance sparked controversy

In a little-noticed move, a small number of police officers are now routinely carrying sidearms while on patrol in parts of the mainland UK. How did this come about, and does it alter the relationship between the constabulary and the public?

Saturday night in Inverness. Outside a McDonald’s restaurant, a scuffle between two men breaks out. Three police officers arrive to intervene. So far, so mundane.

Except that strapped around the hips of each of the policemen approaching the brawl is a holstered Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol.

It’s a sight that once would have been unthinkable. In this corner of the Scottish Highlands – an area with one of the lowest crime rates in the UK – the officers showing up to a relatively workaday disturbance are armed.

Although every police force has a firearms unit, for decades it has been an article of faith that in the mainland UK, almost uniquely among major industrialised nations, the police do not carry guns as a matter of course.

But with little fanfare at first, a policy of routinely allowing specialist officers to wear sidearms as they walk the streets of Scotland has come into being.

After the incident in Inverness was captured by a local photographer on 12 July, local politicians expressed fears that the tradition of an unarmed constabulary was being surreptitiously eroded – a charge that would have implications for everyone in the UK.

John Finnie, an independent Member of the Scottish Parliament and former police officer, was approached by a constituent who said he had seen armed officers at the finishing line of the Highland Cross biathlon in the sleepy town of Beauly. The man told the MSP he “felt less safe”, assuming some sort of major incident was under way.

Other sightings of armed officers in incongruous settings had emerged – at a bakery in the village of Brora, at a branch of Aldi in Inverness. They were also photographed at a routine traffic incident in Glasgow city centre.

Police Scotland, the single Scotland-wide force, says when specialist officers are not deployed on active firearms duty, it is expected that they carry out normal policing duties while carrying their sidearms. It says it is not the first force in the UK to routinely arm officers, and that 42 forces in England and Wales “carry the same standing authority and deploy similarly”.

There seems however to be a lack of clarity about how widespread the practice is. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers says Police Scotland’s policy has precedents in London in 2009 and Bedfordshire in 2012. The Metropolitan Police, however, says its officers on routine patrols are not armed.

This policy was introduced by the former Strathclyde force in 2008, and followed by Tayside in 2009 and Northern Constabulary just before the single force was created in 2013. Hitherto, firearms officers had to retrieve their weapons under a senior officer’s authorisation from a locked safe in an armed response vehicle.

Until this point, most people hadn’t actually noticed that the policy had altered. Jimmy Gray, the leader of Highland Council, says Northern Constabulary’s Joint Police Board was not fully informed what the change would mean. “It horrifies most people around here,” he says.

The British position

Why British police don’t have guns

Following an outcry, however, the Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill addressed MSPs at Holyrood on Tuesday to defend it. He said the public “understands and accepts” the need for a “small number” of officers to be armed and for the chief constable of Police Scotland, Sir Stephen House, to have operational independence over their deployment.

But in the Highlands, where 16 officers are authorised to routinely carry sidearms, hostility remains strong among elected representatives, who fear that the change in tactics will only encourage criminals to arm themselves more heavily.

Finnie, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has led the opposition in the Scottish Parliament. He says it is unnecessary as officers are walking around “the safest place in the UK” with sidearms, and that the policy will only serve to frighten people.

Critics pointed out the widening of the policy comes after figures for 2012-13 showed firearm offences in Scotland had fallen by 32% to the lowest for 10 years. Homicides, attempted murders and robberies in which firearms were involved were all down too.

Petitions opposing the policy were started by local MP Danny Alexander and the Inverness Courier newspaper. Some 59 of 80 Highland councillors supported a motion tabled at the full council calling for a review.

But following a meeting with Highland councillors in July, divisional commander Ch Supt Elaine Ferguson said the policy was unlikely to change.

Ever since Robert Peel created the Metropolitan Police in 1829, the British force’s unarmed status has been central to its identity. Some in London were issued with revolvers prior to 1936, but after that date only trained officers ranked at sergeant or above were issued with guns, and even then only if they could show a good reason.

This was underpinned by the principle of policing by consent – the notion that officers owe their primary duty to those they serve, rather than to the state. Historically the only forces in the UK which were routinely armed were in Northern Ireland, the Ministry of Defence Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

According to Richard Garside, director of the Centre of Crime and Justice Studies, the sight of armed police has become more common in recent decades at airports and at places like the House of Commons. Cases like the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, shot dead during a robbery in 2005, or of the three plain-clothes officers murdered by Harry Roberts in west London in 1966, have led to calls for the police to be armed.

In November 2011, Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe called for police response officers to be routinely armed with Tasers and in 2007 the centre-right think-tank Policy Exchange found 72% of 2,156 adults wanted to see more armed police patrols.

But a 2006 survey of 47,328 Police Federation members found 82% did not want officers to be routinely armed on duty, despite almost half saying their lives had been “in serious jeopardy” during the previous three years.

Nonetheless, Garside says the policy in Scotland represents an “escalation” and will appear surprising to a public which still cherishes a Dixon of Dock Green ideal of policing.

“It does change the dynamic between the police and the public,” he says. “It’s always slightly alarming or unusual to see police officers in the UK carrying guns.”

Police Scotland insists that it is a long way from routinely arming those who serve in it. There has been no increase in the number of armed personnel. Out of 17,318 Scottish officers, only 275 routinely carry guns while on duty – 1.6% of the total. Because they work shifts, a much smaller number will be on duty at any one time.

In a statement, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Livingstone said the change in policy was necessary to correct a “previous postcode lottery of services”, adding that shootings in Dunblane, Cumbria, Hungerford and Northumberland demonstrated that rural areas were not immune from the threat of gun crime.

He added that it made sense for armed officers “to support their colleagues in local policing divisions through regular patrols and routine tasks” when they are not carrying out their specialist duty – citing the example of a 79-year-old woman who was rescued from the Caledonian Canal in Inverness by armed officers, who were the closest unit on hand to assist.

But Finnie says it isn’t necessary for them to wear sidearms strapped to their hips while they carry out this kind of assistance. During his 10 years as a dog handler, he says, he would regularly be called to assist colleagues dealing with robberies or domestic violence incidents, but “I didn’t take my 90lb snarling animal along with me”.

In addition, Dr Mick North, whose five-year-old daughter Sophie died at Dunblane Primary in 1996, hit out at the force for citing the tragedy in support of its policy. He said changes to the system would not have helped as “the incident was all over in three minutes”.

Police Scotland say they have only received one complaint from a member of the public about the policy, but a quarterly review in September “will take account of the views raised so far”.

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