Armed officers to patrol streets in fight against terrorism
PUBLISHED: 11:14 03 August 2016 | UPDATED: 15:07 03 August 2016
Armed police who will “run towards the danger” during a potential terrorist attack have been deployed across the capital.
Londoners can expect to see the officers, who are the first graduates of a plan to put an extra 600 armed police on the streets, from today.
The intention is to make the capital as “hostile” a place as possible to would-be attackers by increasing police visibility.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met’s commissioner, said: “Anyone who’s been following events in Europe over the past few weeks will understand why we want to show our determination to protect the public.
“We are deadly serious about the protection that we are offering the people of London and we will never be complacent.”
He added that the “reality” of having to deal with attackers requires armed police who will “use force to stop those attackers in their aim”.
“Our firearms officers are the ones who will run towards the danger,” he said. “They are our heroes.”
But Sir Bernard is also keen to stress the importance of the work done by unarmed officers in building strong relationships with the capital’s communities, and that armed police should not be treated differently by the public.
He said: “Despite the fact they are carrying guns they are still police officers and I want the public to approach and talk to them, they are out on our streets to reassure and help the public.”
For Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the deployment is part of his “first priority” – the safety of Londoners.
“We will see more armed officers on our streets, but there is no reason to be alarmed,” he said.
“All of our police officers are playing their part and working closely with all of our communities to prevent the possibility of an attack.”
He also paid tribute to the men and women who “put their own lives at risk every day” to protect the capital.
Operation Hercules is not intelligence-based, but a long-term response to the threats posed by terrorism.
Locations, tactics and numbers of officers will constantly change to avoid predictability.
The UK terror threat remains “severe”.
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