Commissioner defends 'reassuring' move to deploy armed officers

Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping (Archive Image)
Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping (Archive Image)
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Nottinghamshire's Police & Crime Commission Paddy Tipping says the decision to deploy armed officers around the country over Christmas will provide 'reassurance and deterrence' to local people.

The controversial move has attracted both a welcome response from residents and also concern to see heavily armed policeman at the Festive Season.

It follows two terrorism attacks in Berlin and Turkey.

Paddy Tipping said: “Terrorism in Nottinghamshire and across the East Midlands is a real threat and events in Berlin earlier this week prompted a review of security arrangements. The decision to deploy armed police officers in crowded places was taken by local Chief Constables. The move offers reassurance and deterrence.”

East Midlands Operational Support Service, which provides firearms, police dogs, roads policing and other services launched the operation this morning (December 22) in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire, to run until January 3.

Nottinghamshire Police said the assessment of the threat from international terrorism has not changed and remains classified as “severe”, but there is no specific information or intelligence which suggests an attack in the United Kingdom is imminent.

The force said: "The incidents of terrorism / suspected terrorism in Berlin and Turkey in the last few days have served to remind everyone of the ongoing threat, and makes it proportionate and appropriate for the four forces to raise the profile of armed protection and prevention patrols over the holiday period.

"Starting at 7am today all Authorised Firearms Officers covering Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire are now carrying out routine patrols in crowded places. They will clearly be carrying firearms but the policing style will be engaging and reassuring in order to keep the public alert but not alarmed."

Chief Supt Ian Howick, in Charge of EMOpSS, said: “Far from alarming the public, the purpose of this change in approach is to achieve precisely the opposite – to provide greater reassurance.

“There is no specific threat to the East Midlands, but recent events elsewhere in the world have led to a change in what the public in Britain expect and want from their local police.

“In common with all other policing areas, we have assessed our capability and security arrangements. The purpose of this change is to further minimise the risk to the public and staff in and around crowded / busy public places from a terrorist attack, to maximise the safety of tasked and untasked police officers, staff and partner agency staff in such vicinities, and to provide the public with a greater sense of reassurance by increasing our visible presence.”

A dozen people were killed and many others were injured after Anis Amri, 24, from Tunisia drove a lorry into a Berlin Christmas market on Monday. European police issued a continent wide warrant for his arrest on Wednesday.

Your comments on Facebook:

Ruth Gibbin: "I don't want to see our police with guns. Only Armed Response. I trust them to do their job without them."

Malcolm Bellaby: "About time we had armed officers on streets for the publics and police protection."

Louise Hunt said: "Why advertise the fact if Nottingham's not in direct danger? People will be worried if you say ya gonna patrol with guns.

Alexandra Medcalf said:"It helps people feel a bit safer given the political climate."

Doug Birkin: "Crooked trigger happy cops. Lets see how many innocents been wasted come January."

Neill Poppa Koski: "Never mind armed police on streets, how about just having some police on the streets."