Increase in armed officers on our streets

Armed police officers in Wigan town centre after the day after the Manchester Arena boming last year
Armed police officers in Wigan town centre after the day after the Manchester Arena boming last year
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More armed officers will be out on patrol at public events across Greater Manchester.

Last year saw a national increase in the amount of police officers trained in firearms use in the UK as part of a Home Office initiative and as a result, the armed policing unit which covers Wigan was boosted by a third.

GMP’s Specialist Operations Branch - the team responsible for armed policing across the region - has now increased it’s patrolling of high profile venues and eventsas a result.

As we head towards the anniversary of the manchester Arena atrocity, police stress the visible change in armed policing that will be seen over the next few months is not in response to any specific threat but aim to provide visible reassurance. Members of the public will be more likely to see armed officers at crowded events such as concerts and football matches.

A similar approach to armed policing at last year’s Christmas Markets in Manchester City Centre received positive feedback from members of the public.

Superintendent Mark Dexter, of GMP’s Specialist Operations Branch, said: “As front line responders we understand that the public want more officers out and about in Greater Manchester, particularly when they are at large events such as concerts and football matches.

“We hope by deploying more armed officers it shows that we do listen to feedback and this move will make you feel safer and more relaxed while out enjoying yourselves.

“I know some people can find armed officers intimidating and might feel nervous about approaching them but, I want to assure you that they are there to help in any way they can just like unarmed officers you’d see on patrol.

“They are normal people like you and me, with families and friends, and I am sure that they would appreciate hellos, smiles and a few friendly words whilst carrying out their duties.

“Our number priority is keeping the public safe and if this increase helps people feel more at ease, then we see this as a positive step.”

Hours after the bomb at the concert last May, officers carrying guns were deployed to Wigan town centre and their presence was welcomed by shoppers who were badly shocked by the events of the previous evening.