Police officers to be armed in new fight against crime

1 Armed police in Clumber Street

Plans are underway to arm police officers with guns while they are patrolling Nottinghamshire's road network.

This will be the first team outside of the Armed Response unit to be handed weapons in order to prevent crimes from occurring.

The new road crime team will be stopping criminals shipping firearms into Nottingham but they will also be used in the fight against terrorism.

The threat to the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) from terrorism is classed as severe at the moment, which means an attack is "highly likely."

Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said having armed officers travelling around the county in vehicles means they can be deployed quickly and limit the threat to the public.

Superintendent Claire Rukas, who is heading up the unit, said she does not want the public to be alarmed if they see officers with guns.

The guns will be kept in holsters and not on display in the same way as armed police patrolling large events in places such as Old Market Square at Christmas time.

Criminals are also using Nottingham's road network to transport drugs and weapons and it is the role of the team to stop any vehicles they suspect to be involved in this activity.

The team can clock up to more than 200 miles a day working from the North to the South of the County , and even policing the miles of motorway that feed into the city.

Fourteen new officers and a sergeant will be placed into two teams - the road crime team, which will consist of armed and unarmed officers, and the road policing team.

The armed officers will work with surveillance to determine where the threats may be, as well as the public and officers from other departments.

Superintendent Rukas told Nottinghamshire Live: "It is nothing to be concerned about. It is about reassuring the public. Covid has changed the world but what still exists is that criminal element.

"There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes and this is very much the front end.

"Our ability to enforce and get in there quickly and stop any movement or any harm coming to the public.

"Some people are out to cause harm and we are out there to stop that from happening.

"We already have armed patrols in the police but they do everything. They will continue to be out and about but this is additional.

"It is not because we have had an increase in crime or violence or weapons - it is about making sure that we have the best tactics available.

"It should not cause concern. We have had armed officers for many years and number one they are police offices but they are trained in additional tactics and to bring a safe resolution.

"This is a big investment for the force."

Superintendent Rukas said there are no plans for other policing departments to carry guns as it would change the structure of policing.

"Responding means it has already happened. You have a victim feeling the effects of a crime but if you are proactive then you don't have that victim," she said.

Mr Tipping said the armed officers were needed in case there was a terror attack in the city or county but to also ensure those who carry guns are arrested quickly.

Nottinghamshire Live 

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Tuesday, 26 January 2021

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