More armed police are to start patrolling high-profile events in Manchester

Armed police GV

GMP's armed policing unit was increased by a third last year and the force said that as a result, the public will now start seeing more officers carrying guns on the streets

A ‘visible change’ in the number of armed officers at high-profile events in Manchester will be seen over the coming months, police have revealed.

Greater Manchester Police’s armed policing unit was increased by a third last year and the force said that as a result, the public will now start seeing more officers carrying guns on the streets.

Police chiefs stressed the increased deployments were not in response to any ‘specific threat’, but aimed to provide ‘visible reassurance’ at crowded events.

Superintendent Mark Dexter, of GMP’s Specialist Operations Branch, said: “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.”

He said the force’s number one priority was keeping the public safe.

“If this increase helps people feel more at ease, then we see this as a positive step,” he added

GMP said 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.

The exact number of armed officers currently covering Greater Manchester hasn’t been revealed, but the force said its compliment had been boosted by a third.

A spokesman said members of the public were more likely to see additional armed officers at crowded events, such as concerts and football matches.

Armed police patrolled Manchester’s Christmas markets for the first time last year in the wake of the Manchester Arena terror attack.

Supt Dexter added: “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.”

Manchester Evening News 

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Sunday, 19 August 2018

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