Scottish Liberal Democrats have warned that the latest dispute over the use of routinely armed police officers in the Highlands is a real test of the Justice Secretary’s promises that a national police force would continue to be flexible to local needs.
It comes after Highland Council overwhelmingly voted in favour of a review of Police Scotland's gun policy in the region. Police Scotland has now said its national policy is unlikely to change.
Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:
“Armed police officers carrying out routine duties is fundamentally at odds with the principles of community policing. It is little wonder that there is real disquiet about this change. It completely changes the nature of the relationship between citizens and police officers.
"It is wrong that the view of the democratically elected Highland Council is not being listened to. Scottish Liberal Democrats warned that Scotland’s national police force would see power stripped from local communities. SNP Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill consistently told us that a national force would continue to be flexible to local needs.
"Well, this is a real test of the justice secretary's mettle. Will he support the call for a review of this policy or will he yet again ignore the community and leave us to conclude that local responsiveness is a mirage?”