London to Deploy More Armed Police to Counter Terror Threat

  • Commissioner Hogan-Howe calls for 600 more armed cops in city
  • Increase would double number of armed response vehicles

London’s top cop called for plans to increase the number of armed officers in the city by 600 in a bid to prevent a deadly terrorist attack similar to those seen in Paris and around the world.

The increases would double the number of armed response vehicles on the city’s streets, where police are still predominately unarmed, Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said Thursday in a statement.

“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,” Hogan-Howe said. “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.”

Security services around the world are on alert to prevent further Islamist violence in western cities after November’s attacks in Paris that claimed the lives of 130 people and shootings outside Los Angeles that left 14 dead and 22 injured. Suspected Islamic State militants staged an assault in central Jakarta earlier today, killing several people in the worst attack in the Indonesian capital since at least 2009

The U.K. security and intelligence services have foiled seven terrorist plots over the past year, the U.K. government said in November. Police continue to arrest record numbers of suspected terrorists in a bid to prevent men, women and children traveling to Syria and Iraq to join up with Islamic State.

There were 315 U.K. terrorism-related arrests in the year ending in September 2015 with the number of women and children being detained doubling on the previous year, according to data compiled by the Home Office.

The planned increase will give London police a pool of around 2,800 armed officers to call upon in the event of an attack, Hogan-Howe said. Around 92 percent of London’s police remain unarmed, he said.

"The threat we currently face is likely to be a spontaneous attack that requires a fast response," Hogan-Howe said. "This increase has started already and everyday we are getting stronger. It will be an expensive option, but is vital to keeping us safe."

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