600 additional armed police officers will join existing bobbies packing heat on London's streets, as the Metropolitan Police service looks to tighten up defenses in anticipation of a potential terror attack.
Though the increase in gun-wielding officers does not come in response to fresh intelligence regarding a terror attack, the capital's threat alert level remains at "severe" after a recent wave of terror incidents on the European continent.
“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,” said the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe in a statement.
“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.”
Though the majority of UK police are unarmed, the new armed force will be very visible to the public in hopes of acting as a deterrent to would-be attackers, and as a better equipped line of defence should an attack take place.
The roll out of additional armed officers comes with the blessing of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, though he cautioned Londoners to remain calm after what may seem an alarming response to the terror threat.
“The safety and security of all Londoners is my first priority, and our police and security services is [sic] working incredibly hard every day on our behalf,” said the Mayor.
“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.”
London has avoided large-scale terror attacks since the July 7th 2005 bombings, which killed 52 people on trains and a bus. And though numerous terror plots have said to have been foiled by intelligence agencies, small-scale attacks, like the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in May 2013, have still occurred.