Increased armed police training in Cambridgeshire outlined

Crime in Hempnall
Crime in Hempnall

More officers are being trained to carry firearms in Cambridgeshire, police have announced.

The combined Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire joint protective services unit has increased its number of authorised firearms officers (AFOs) by 50 per cent.

Although they will not carry weapons routinely, they can be called upon if necessary to protect the public.

The announcement comes just days after seven people were killed and dozens more were injured in a van and knife attack on London Bridge on Saturday night.

Senior officers have stressed the move has not been made in response to that attack, or the bombing of the Manchester Arena last month in which 22 people were killed, or to any intelligence suggesting a specific threat to this region.

But assistant chief constable Paul Fullwood said: “The tragic incidents in Manchester and London show us how important it is that we have the appropriate number of firearms trained officers.

“When others run away from danger, our brave AFOs run towards the threat, as has been seen this weekend.

“They’re often faced with difficult and challenging decisions and as such we are hugely appreciative of their efforts in keeping the wider public safe, and I am grateful to our officers who have volunteered to be part of this uplift.”

The force says the number of armed officers was increased in response to a directive issued by the Home Office last year.

The exact number of armed officers has not been disclosed for security reasons.

Cambridgeshire’s police and crime commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, said: “The appalling events in Manchester and London have once again highlighted the incredibly important and difficult job done by armed officers.

“I hope this move to increase the number of highly trained officers helps to reassure the people of Cambridgeshire.

“I am committed to do all I can to ensure the constabulary has the necessary resources to protect the public.”