Met Police could put armed squads on foot patrol to tackle gangs

Scotland Yard is considering the deployment of armed foot patrols in London’s most notorious crime hotspots to curb gang violence. 

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick today said that armed officers could take a “short foot patrol” in “extreme circumstances” in response to serious outbreaks of violence.

She told members of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee that armed officers were already getting out of their vehicles to support unarmed colleagues at violent incidents. In some cases, they would “walk around”, she said. 

The patrols would be undertaken by officers from armed response vehicles which routinely patrol London, and provide support to neighbourhood police and specialist teams. Ms Dick said she and colleagues were aware of the sensitivities over alterations to the role of armed police but insisted this would be a “small change”.

Cressida Dick pictured at Scotland Yard (Lucy Young)

She said this would not involve routine armed patrols, adding: “We are not doing this by stealth. It would only be done in unusual circumstances.”

However, Labour member Len Duvall said that while people were used to armed officers protecting iconic sites, patrols on ordinary streets would amount to a change in tactics. He questioned why there had only been limited consultation, saying his concern was this would “sneak out and become the norm”.

Ms Dick said a limited consultation had started with two groups in London. An email to one, seen by the Standard, states: “There has been recent internal discussion around using additional armed support to patrol on foot amongst local communities, with their weapons visible and accessible.

“The purpose of any such initiative must be to enhance public and unarmed officer safety, and to improve not hinder community confidence.”

The email says the “ARV (armed response vehicle) pulse patrol” is a tactical option available to police but states it is “not routinely utilised due to the potential for adverse community impact if not carefully managed”.

Armed foot patrols were deployed in London in 2009 after a surge in gun crime. However, Scotland Yard was forced into an embarrassing climbdown after it provoked an angry  reaction from local communities and the force’s governing authority because they had not been consulted in advance.

There were fears the deployment would be a step towards a routinely-armed force with the then mayor Boris Johnson saying armed police should be “the exception, not the norm”.

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met Commissioner at the time, admitted that armed officers had been deployed on foot eight times in support of neighbourhood officers in a pilot project in Haringey and Lambeth. The force abandoned the scheme.

At present armed officers are deployed in support of the Violent Crime Taskforce but they are mobile teams. A Met spokesman said today: “As part of the Met’s ongoing commitment to tackle serious violence, our tactics remain under constant review. Currently officers across the boroughs and Violent Crime Taskforce are supported by colleagues from specialist units such as the Territorial Support Group and the Specialist Firearms Command (SCO19). One tactical option available within SCO19 would be to deploy armed foot patrols. 

“The Met recognises the significant change in tasking officers in this way and the impact it may have on our communities. As such an email was sent to our independent community group, the Firearms and Taser Reference Group, for their initial views on how they believe their community may perceive such patrols. No decision has been made.”

standard.co.uk
Met Police could put armed squads
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in may
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
An EE customer has said she was stalked by an ex-partner who worked at the firm, after he accessed her personal data without permission. Francesca Bonafede's number was switched to a new handset and her address and bank details were accessed. She said the company failed to take the data breach seriously and she had to involve police. EE "sincerely apologised" to Ms Bonafede, and said the employee no longer worked for the company. 'They didn't seem concerne...
Society
West Ham say they have handed over all of their evidence to the police after completing a "thorough and immediate" investigation into racist abuse shouted at Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. The incident happened during Monday's 1-1 draw at London Stadium. Egypt striker Salah, 26, was filmed on a mobile phone from a section of home supporters as he was taking a corner. "The club is unequivocal in its stance - such abuse will not be tolerated," West Ham said in a...
Society
A body seen in the wreckage of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been recovered, investigators said. Remotely operated Vehicles (ROVs) were used in ‘challenging conditions’ to pull the body out of the water ‘in as dignified a way as possible’ the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on Wednesday night. The body is being taken to Portland to be passed over to the Dorset coroner for examination, t...
Society
The US president, who has repeatedly criticised the military alliance, would meet with heads of state in London, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday. It would be Mr Trump's second visit to Britain since his election, having jetted in amid swathes of protest last July. I am pleased to announce that allies have agreed that the next meeting of Nato heads of state and government will take place in London in December 2019. The meeting...
Society
Rolf Harris was jailed for five years and nine months in 2014 but released on licence in May 2017 Credit: PA Officials are investigating a report that disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris walked onto the grounds of a primary school and waved at pupils. The convicted sex offender went onto the premises of Oldfield Primary School near his home in Bray, Maidenhead, to talk to a sculptor working in the grounds, the Daily Mirror reported. Harris, who was jailed fo...
Crime
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a teenager was stabbed to death. Police and London Ambulance Service were called to Wolsey Court, off Westbridge Road in Battersea, at 7.52pm on Tuesday following reports of a stabbing. A 19-year-old man was found with stab injuries and died at the scene at 8.36pm despite paramedics battling to save his life. The stabbing took place less than half a mile from Prince George's primary school, Thomas's B...
Society
The girl, who has been named Roman by nurses, was found at around 10pm on Thursday in the park in Roman Road in East Ham.  Police said Roman was wrapped in a white towel and placed in the shopping bag on the ground next to a bench in the small children's play park.  The baby was rushed to hospital where she was in a stable condition on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police said.  Roman was discovered by grandmother-of-one Rima Zvaliauskiene, 50, just 100...
Society
The operation to recover the doomed plane carrying Emiliano Sala off Guernsey could be hampered by days of poor weather as the man brought in by the footballer's family to find him said he could be in the wreckage. The English Channel is being battered by torrential ran, 40mph winds and 10ft waves with the poor conditions set to continue - and worsen - until the end of the week, MailOnline can reveal today. The families of the £15million striker and his pi...
Society
Train passengers are being warned of major disruption after overhead electric wires were damaged near one of London’s busiest stations. Network Rail said services travelling to and from Liverpool Street could be cancelled or revised until 8am on Thursday. Wires between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green, east London, were damaged, with the outage impacting Greater Anglia, London Overground, Stansted Express and Transport for London Rail services. Passenger...