Last week you may have seen the media coverage of our firearms officers as the Commissioner and Mayor launched Operation Hercules. This operation is about increasing the number of firearms officers on our streets and using them in a range of different ways, all designed primarily to protect the Capital against the terrorism threat. The threat remains at severe.
This operation is continuing and those officers are out there today, as they have been since the launch.
Also, we are working hard to recruit and train the 600 extra firearms officers that the Commissioner announced at the start of this year. Those extra officers will mean that we can deploy more armed response vehicles.Deploying officers like this gives us the best response to any call that is assessed as needing armed officers to attend. They can travel quickly around the whole of London.
We have been working hard with communities, key community contacts and organisations throughout London, to explain what Operation Hercules is and what the increase in firearms officers’ means. This involves listening to what people are telling us and we welcome their feedback.
Coupled with this the Met is working with our staff associations and independent advisory groups too, so we can make sure that we continue to engage in the most effective way.
What is important is that we are working hard to protect all communities, no matter what the threat.More armed officers out on the streets will mean we can respond more quickly to armed criminality and other serious threats.
This was clearly shown last week, when the firearms officers were deployed to Russell Square - they rushed to the scene with limited information - not knowing if it was an act of terrorism.
Within six minutes of the first 999 call from the public our armed officers had arrived and detained the suspect, using the minimum amount of force - no shots were fired.
We are proud of the fact that we continue to meet the challenges of policing a world famous Capital city with a mainly unarmed police service - around 92 per cent. All of our officers who are out on the streets everyday are there to talk to and engage with our communities and that's a really important part of how we keep our city safe.