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Extra armed police officers to patrol London’s streets

PROTECTING THE CAPITAL: Operation Hercules will see 600 additional firearms officers patrolling the streets in London

TODAY MARKS the first of an increased presence of armed police officers across the capital following the launch of Operation Hercules in order to counter terrorism, Scotland Yard has announced.

The first of 600 additional armed officers began their patrol of London and major landmarks this morning (August 3).

Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced the new measures asserting that it would be “foolish to ignore” the recent terror attacks on the continent and that an attack on British soil was “highly likely”.

Both the mayor and the commissioner have urged the public "not to be alarmed" when seeing armed officers on the capital's streets, insisting that they are there to "reassure and protect" Londoners.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “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. We are deadly serious about the protection that we are offering the people of London and we will never be complacent.

“That's why I’m increasing the visibility and the number of armed officers on London's streets, and demonstrating some of the range of tactics we already have to protect the public from all manner of threats.

“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.

“Despite the fact they are carrying guns they are still police officers and I want the public to approach and talk to them, they are out on our streets to reassure and help the public."

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, added: "The safety and security of all Londoners is my first priority, and our police and security services is working incredibly hard every day on our behalf.

"‎The threat level here in London has not changed, but it does remain at severe and especially in light of recent deadly attacks in Europe it is important we are prepared should the unthinkable happen.

"We will see more armed officers on our streets, but there is no reason to be alarmed. All of our police officers are playing their part and working closely with all of our communities to prevent the possibility of an attack."

Former prime minister, David Cameron, announced funding in April for an extra 1,000 firearms officers nationwide, including 600 in London.

The rolling out of Operation Hercules brings the the total number of armed officers in the capital to 2,800.

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