A police officer does his supermarket shopping armed with a loaded pistol.
The shocking scene was captured by The Sunday Post as the on-duty cop browsed the aisles in a Tesco in Paisley, Renfrewshire.
Surrounded by parents and young children, the uniformed officer picked-up his messages with his deadly Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol clearly visible.
Labour Justice Spokesperson Graeme Pearson blasted: “This photograph highlights the very situation that so many people are concerned about. The move towards arming officers on routine duties and on this occasion, on no duty at all is highly risky.”
The policeman involved wandered through a number of aisles at the Tesco store on Paisley’s East Lane in the middle of the afternoon on Friday. He bought a bottle of orange juice and some messages before heading back to his patrol car.
One incensed Police Scotland insider said officers armed or not aren’t paid to do their shopping on duty.
He said: “It beggars belief this armed colleague decided to do this while on duty.”
Mr Pearson, a former police chief himself, added: “Kenny MacAskill boasts of a 39-year low in crime and incidents involving firearms have plummeted, so it seems an odd decision that we now arm our officers.”
Outraged politicians are demanding an urgent review.
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie is spearheading the call. He wants an inquiry into the hugely controversial policy.
He said: “The police’s refusal to budge on the issue puts them at odds with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Justice Scotland, Highland Council and others.”
Sir Stephen House, Chief Constable of Police Scotland, gave the green light for more than 400 officers to carry guns earlier this year. The move went ahead without any scrutiny and has been widely criticised. He described the use of armed cops as “necessary and proportionate”. Top officers also defended their use by pointing to the Dunblane massacre as evidence an atrocity can happen anywhere.
A police spokeswoman said: “When they are not carrying out their specialist duties officers are there to support their colleagues in delivering the policing priorities set by local communities. This includes assisting officers at the scene of an incident.”