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Armed police at Kent locations including Bluewater and Canterbury Cathedral

The number of armed police on the streets of Kent will be increased from today.

Extra officers carrying firearms and tasers will be deployed at key locations including the Port of Dover, Bluewater Shopping Centre and Canterbury Cathedral.

Kent Police has told KentOnline the increase isn’t in response to any direct threat, but follows recent international terror attacks and a rise in national threat levels.

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It follows a Home Office announcement that all forces in England and Wales should increase firearms patrols to protect the public.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Brandon told KentOnline: “As of today we will deploying armed officers at a number of iconic site across the county.

“We’re doing the initial patrolling today from within the resources we have, supplemented with overtime, but are actually in the process of recruiting a number of new firearms officers to be deployed to other parts of the county.”

Armed police during an operation. Stock image
Armed police during an operation. Stock image

It comes a week after Kent’s crime commissioner Matthew Scott called for a review into how firearms officers are recruited.

Mr Scott said the force was facing challenges in meeting a target to appoint 24 extra officers because of competition from other forces such as The Met.

His predecessor Ann Barnes put up council tax by 3.4% this year to help recruitment after the government said it expected all forces to increase by half their firearms contingent.

Video: There will be more armed police in Kent

However, Mr Brandon reassured the public he’s confident that he will be able to recruit enough staff.

He added: “It is a challenge because you are asking someone, in the most severe circumstances, to take someone’s life and that isn’t something that every officer feels comfortable putting themselves forward for.

“We don’t have huge numbers of firearms officers, but the ones we do have we must ensure that they have the best training and best equipment to go out and do the jobs they do.”

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