Responding to the results of a Scottish Police Federation Survey of its members on safety and protective equipment, which showed support for officers accessing handguns, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:
"It is essential the police feel secure and properly supported by their armed colleagues. Any move towards routinely arming officers with handguns, however, would be disproportionate and contrary to the principle of policing by consent.
"With ongoing threats including terrorism, nobody is suggesting Police Scotland shouldn't be capable of responding quickly to such situations. But officers and the public they serve are rightly proud of the ability of the police to do their jobs day in day out without carrying guns.
"When the Scottish Liberal Democrats and others exposed the fact armed police were undertaking routine duties while carrying guns, it was clear the public were not comfortable with this approach. That policy was rightly reversed and new safeguards put in place. It would be a mistake to move away from that policy now."