London’s Metropolitan Police are considering sending visibly armed officers on patrol in gang-plagued residential areas, amidst the city’s on-going violent crime wave.
The move is almost unprecedented on mainland Britain, excluding Northern Ireland during the conflict years, with the Metropolitan Police previously restricting patrols with visible firearms to high profile areas at risk of a terror attack, such as the Palace of Westminster, Whitehall, and Buckingham Palace.
Cressida Dick, the force’s commissioner, told the London assembly Thursday that armed officers would now take a “very short foot patrol in extreme circumstances” in areas where there was intelligence of potential violence.
She said that she was aware of the “sensitivity” of armed patrols but insisted it was not a move towards officers routinely carrying weapons. “This is so far from this, I cannot tell you,” she said.