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Statement re: firearms officers

News   •  Jan 14, 2016 08:44 GMT

Following the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe asked for plans to be developed to increase the number of firearms officers.

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. Whilst 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.

"In the days following Paris I asked my firearms team to increase the number of armed response vehicles available on our streets, which we did. Now I have decided that we take the steps to increase these numbers on a permanent basis.

"To do so, the Met will now start putting plans in place to raise the number of armed officers that we have by 600. This increase will more than double the number of armed response vehicles on our streets and grow a highly trained specialist part of our capability. 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.

"This increase has started already and everyday we are getting stronger. It will be an expensive option, but is vital to keeping us safe.

"My firearms officers are our heroes - we expect them to run towards a terrorist attack and take action to confront and stop that threat.

"By increasing the number of armed response vehicle officers we have we can make sure that our firearms response continues to come from a group of highly specialist and highly skilled officers. 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% of the Met will be unarmed."

The Met has a long-standing position of not detailing security arrangements that we put in place to protect the Capital. To provide such detail may be of use to those who plan to attack London. As such we will not provide the detail of how many armed response vehicles are on duty, or will be on duty, after the increase in officer numbers.

Armed response vehicle officers continue to receive training as part of their routine cycle to test the response to a marauding terrorist firearms attack. This programme of training was developed following the attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and continues to develop learning from incidents around the world.

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.

The number of authorised firearms officers within the Met has fluctuated over the years against the threat picture facing the Capital - these increases will bring the total number of armed officers within the Met to around 2,800.

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