I agree that the use of firearms might occasionally be necessary to deal with armed criminals, but is the minister concerned about the frequent, visible presence of police armed with submachine-guns, wandering around public places such as airport terminals?
Given that the police possess or are demanding other potentially lethal weaponry, such as plastic bullets, CS gas and Taser stun guns, will the minister at least seek some form of parliamentary approval for such measures, instead of leaving it all to the discretion of chief constables? After all, Scotland is a parliamentary democracy and not a police state.
I seem to recall answering a previous question from Dennis Canavan, when he accused—"accused" is perhaps the wrong word. He suggested that we were trying to turn Scotland into a police state. I gave him an absolute assurance at that time that, of course, that was not the case. However, it is true that there are matters that should be decided by chief constables for operational policing purposes. I do not think that it