These three armed police officers were on routine patrol in Inverness city centre on Saturday night - something that will become a familiar sight under the controversial new policy adopted by Police Scotland.
They were on their way to investigate reports of a row between two men outside McDonald’s in High Street. Their weapons were not needed.
Two further armed officers were patrolling elsewhere in the city at the same time.
Police Scotland chief constable Sir Stephen House is refusing to reconsider his decision to routinely arm officers in the Highlands, one of the safest places to live in the UK, despite regional councillors and local MP Danny Alexander urging him to do so and in the face of growing public concern.
Opponents of the policy are unhappy at the lack of consultation and claim it is an example of the new national force adopting a one-size-fits-all policy which ignores local sensitivities.
But Sir Stephen insists the move is essential to protect his officers and the public, pointing out that there are 40,000 guns in private hands across the Highlands and Islands.
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