A HEAVILY-armed Scottish police officer interrogated a jogger on the street for 15 minutes – because he didn’t like his exercise vest.
The marksman – armed with a handgun, taser and CS spray – was filmed telling the man that his weighted exercise jacket resembled a police flak jacket and was “not normal”.
A video posted online shows the startled athlete being ordered to provide his details and identification by the officer.
At one point during the bizarre confrontation in Edinburgh the jogger pans his camera down to the officer’s leg and asks: “Is that a gun?”
Weighted exercise vests feature pockets for extra weights, typically cost around £50, and have become popular as a way of building muscle.
But the video filmed in the the wealthy Newington area of the city, and uploaded to YouTube, suggests not all Scottish police are aware of the fashion trend.
The jogger – who calls himself StealthyMonk on YouTube – is believed to have been spotted by the crew of an armed response vehicle, usually made up of two marksmen and an expert driver.
After approaching the jogger, the armed officer tells the man he is wearing a vest that is “very similar in appearance” to his own uniform and resembles a tactical vest.
The officer tells the man he is not “dressed normally” and then asks him to turn off his camera because it is breaching his human rights.
After the jogger shows the weighted beads inside the garment to prove it is an exercise vest the officer goes back to a police Range Rover and consults with his colleagues for a further 10 minutes.
StealthyMonk, who has not responded to requests for an interview, commented on the video: “He forced me to give my details, despite no crime being committed, or face arrest for ‘obstructing an officer in his duty.”
John Scott, the former chair of the Scottish Human Rights Centre and vice-president for crime of the Society of Solicitor-Advocates, said: “It sounds like a situation where the police could have satisfied themselves that there was nothing suspicious within a few minutes.
“It almost seems that it was out of embarrassment that they kept him for this long.
“You would think that armed police would have better things to do than stop someone jogging.”
A spokesman for Scotland Against Criminalising Communities said: “Even if it was reasonable to stop him it should have taken them minutes to establish that there was no need to take a name or address.
“You are only obliged to give these details if you are suspected of a crime – the police here have no grounds to hold this man.”
A spokeswoman for Sports Warehouse in Edinburgh, who sell vests similar to the one in the video, said: “I can’t understand why someone would be stopped for wearing one.
“A lot of people playing rugby and football wear them to add extra weight when they are training, but people wear them to go running too.
“I don’t think they are particularly suspicious-looking.”
But Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont defended the officer, saying: “The delay in resolving this flashpoint seems to have been caused by the walker in question refusing to co-operate with a fairly straightforward request.
“If he had simply given his details to officers instead of filming and antagonising them, this matter would have been over in no time.
“Police have a difficult enough job without being tripped up like this.
“It seems the individual was more intent in becoming a Youtube sensation than anything else.”