Armed police on the rise amid terror attack fears in UK

An additional 1,500 firearms officers to be funded in England and Wales


Prime Minister David Cameron has revealed plans to increase the number of armed police across England and Wales, with many to be based in cities outside London, including Birmingham and Manchester.

The extra officers will take the total number of officers trained in firearms to almost 7,000, with the number of specialist armed response vehicles growing to 150.

"After the terrorist attacks in France last year, we decided to look at whether there was more we could do to protect people," said Cameron. "That's why we are increasing the number of specially trained armed officers up and down the country to make sure the police have greater capability to respond swiftly and effectively should they need to do so."

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Central funding will pay for an extra 1,000 armed police, including 600 for the Metropolitan Police and 400 for forces elsewhere in England and Wales. A further 500 officers will be funded by the forces themselves, reports the BBC.

The "significant increase" comes after a review following the terrorist attacks in Paris last year, when 130 people were killed, says the Daily Telegraph.

"The focus has further intensified after the suicide bomb attacks in Brussels last week, which left 32 dead," says the newspaper.

Simon Chesterman, the National Police Chiefs' Council's lead for armed policing and the deputy chief constable of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, said: "Firearms officers are highly mobile and we will be locating them in such a way [as] to ensure response times are better for any area." He added: "In major cities the first officers will be on the ground within minutes."

However, he said that his biggest concern was having sufficient recruits to meet the funding. "Officers are quite rightly concerned about the implications if they use lethal force and whether it is going to cost them their livelihood and liberty," he said.

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