Met Police to increase number of armed officers in wake of Paris attacks

 
Catherine Neilan
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The total number of armed officers will rise to around 2,800 (Source: Getty)

The Met Police is planning to ramp up the number of armed police officers on the streets of London, following the attacks in Paris last year, which claimed the lives of 130 people.

A further 600 armed officers will be trained for the Met, more than doubling the number of response vehicles available in the capital. It follows a temporary increase in armed units following November's attacks, when restaurants, bars and a live music venue were targeted.

Recruitment to increase the number of firearms officers will now start internally within the Met. Detailed procurement work to increase the size of our training estate is also underway, to allow us to maintain current levels of training and cope with the new training that will take place.

Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "It is my job to make sure that the Met has plans in place to keep the people of London as safe as they can be. The tragic attacks in Paris reinforced the vital role that firearms officers would be called upon to play on behalf of all of us, to run forward and confront the deadly threat that such attackers would pose. While I sincerely hope it is something that never happens on our streets, it is only right that the Met are as ready as can be.

"This is because we know that the threat we currently face is likely to be a spontaneous attack that requires a fast response to deal with it."

Hogan-Howe said steps had already been taken to increase the numbers, "and everyday we are getting stronger".

"It will be an expensive option, but is vital to keeping us safe," he added. "My firearms officers are our heroes - we expect them to run towards a terrorist attack and take action to confront and stop that threat.

But he also attempted to allay fears that this could be the thin end of the wedge. "It will not change the fundamental principle that police in this country are not routinely armed, which we are rightly proud of. Still, around 92 per cent of the Met will be unarmed," Hogan-Howe said.

The number of authorised firearms officers within the Met has fluctuated over the years against the threat picture facing the capital, but the additional resources will bring the total number of armed officers within the Met to around 2,800.

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