More armed police set to patrol streets as force boost firearms officers

Northumbria Police will be increasing the number of firearms officers by more than 50%.

Northumbria Police will be increasing the number of firearms officers by more than 50%.

Last year the Home Office said it would be giving a chosen number of UK police forces more than £140million to increase their firearms capability.

The investment will help ensure the biggest cities in the country can respond quickly to any threat and provide reassurance to its residents.

Northumbria Police has already been proactive in having a highly-visible armed presence at public events, including the Sunderland International Air Show, Tall Ships and Great North Run.

They are also at the Stadium of Light for home matches, although keep a very low profile, and were at the Beyonce concert at the ground during the summer, along with Sunderland and Newcastle Pride events.

An officer taking part in a training excercise at Operational Tactical Training Centre.

An officer taking part in a training excercise at Operational Tactical Training Centre.

The decision was made by the Government following the first Paris attacks, where workers at the Charlie Hebdo magazine were killed in a massacre.

It has confirmed it will be increasing the number of Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) so they can maintain that visible presence around the force.

The section already has more than 100 officers, with recruitment under way to secure the additional members.

Chief Inspector Simon Hall, head of the Firearms Support Unit (FSU), said: “There is no specific intelligence to say that this region is going to be a target for any sort of terrorist activity, but we have the capability to respond quickly if we ever needed to.

There is no specific intelligence to say that this region is going to be a target for any sort of terrorist activity, but we have the capability to respond quickly if we ever needed to.

Chief Inspector Simon Hall

“We are one of nine forces across the UK who have been provided with Government funding to increase the number of our firearms officers and a 50 per cent increase is a significant uplift.”

Chief Insp Hall, who has been part of the FSU for more than 10 years, added: “Our AFOs do not get paid any extra for being part of this unit. They do it voluntarily because they want to protect the people of Northumbria.

“Many of them are mothers and fathers and they make a commitment to put themselves in the most dangerous situations a police officer will have to face in their career just to ensure they can keep the public safe.”

To find out more about the National Armed Uplift Programme (NAUP) visit the National Police Chiefs Council via http://news.npcc.police.uk/releases/extra-armed-police-to-deal-with-terrorist-threat.

The unit will  maintain that visible presence around the force.

The unit will maintain that visible presence around the force.

Armed police officers at the  Sunderland International Air Show this year.

Armed police officers at the Sunderland International Air Show this year.

Trained officers put their skills to the test.

Trained officers put their skills to the test.

The numbers of armed officers is to rise across Northumbria Police.

The numbers of armed officers is to rise across Northumbria Police.

Northumbria Police increase in firearms officers. Training excercise at Operational Tactical Training Centre, Follingsby Avenue

Northumbria Police increase in firearms officers. Training excercise at Operational Tactical Training Centre, Follingsby Avenue

A member of the Firearms Support Unit in his kit.

A member of the Firearms Support Unit in his kit.

Chief Inspector Simon Hall.

Chief Inspector Simon Hall.

The newcomers to the Firearms Support Unit (FSU) will be recruited internally from area commands and departments across the force as well as from other forces across the country.

The newcomers to the Firearms Support Unit (FSU) will be recruited internally from area commands and departments across the force as well as from other forces across the country.

A member of the team takes aim.

A member of the team takes aim.