LONDON (Reuters) - London’s police force will deploy an additional 600 armed officers across the capital to protect against the threat of attacks, authorities announced on Wednesday.
The threat level in London remains at “severe” and the increase is not in response to any specific intelligence but is a long-term response to a spate of deadly attacks in European countries.
“Anyone who’s been following events in Europe over the past few weeks will understand why we want to show our determination to protect the public,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said in a statement.
In line with British policing methods, the majority of London police officers do not carry firearms.
“The reality of having to deal with armed and deadly attackers is that you need firearms officers who will use force to stop those attackers in their aim. Our firearms officers are the ones who will run towards the danger,” said Hogan-Howe.
The additional armed officers will be visible to the public and will work across London, both on foot and in vehicles.
London was hit by coordinated suicide bombings on July 7, 2005, when four Islamist extremists targeted three underground trains and one bus, killing 52 people.
Since then, numerous plots have been foiled and there have been smaller-scale attacks, such as the killing of an off-duty soldier on a street in south London by two extremists in May 2013.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Guy Faulconbridge