LONDON (AA) – The number of armed police officers on the streets of London will be increased by a third to counter a potential terrorist attack.
Bernard Hogan-Howe, the head of the Metropolitan Police Service, said the move was decided in a review following last November’s attacks in Paris.
“My firearms officers are our heroes – we expect them to run towards a terrorist attack and take action to confront and stop that threat,” he said in an announcement on Thursday morning.
“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, [we] 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.”
London’s Metropolitan Police already has 2,000 officers who have received firearms training. Hogan-Howe said that even with the new recruits, 92% of his officers would continue to operate unarmed.
Police officers in the U.K. generally do not carry firearms, unlike in Turkey or the U.S.
The review of police defenses was ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron following the Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead.
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