Police shoot-out

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I am sure many of my fellow Scotsman readers will not agree with Brian Monteith’s views on the forthcoming referendum but I am sure a large majority will agree with his article (Perspective, 28 July) about the increasing number of policemen who are routinely carrying arms.

I have always been very proud of the fact that Britain is one of the few nations in the world where policemen do not routinely carry guns. Of course, guns must be available quickly if necessary, and I would not wish to deny our policemen the use of guns in dangerous situations.

Crime rates are dropping and the criminal use of guns is confined to certain areas and in a few situations. Rightly, the courts hand out long sentences to gun-carrying criminals.

I have no strong views about the centralisation of the police forces but I can accept that eight separate police forces with eight chief constables was very 
bureaucratic and expensive.

The opposition parties are rightly concerned about the
almost routine presence of armed police in our community but the justice secretary Kenny MacAskill seems somewhat reluctant to have discussions with Sir Stephen House, Police Scotland’s Chief Constable, about the whole question of having 
increasing numbers of armed police in our community.

It is unusual for Alex Salmond and the SNP to be so reticent about any Scottish matters.

Hugh Mackenzie

Bonnethill Road