Northamptonshire may see machine-gun carrying officers return to the streets again

Armed police officers were deployed on the streets of Northampton over Christmas after the Berlin attack. Now police chiefs say they armed officers may return.

Armed police officers were deployed on the streets of Northampton over Christmas after the Berlin attack. Now police chiefs say they armed officers may return.

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Police chiefs have not ruled out deploying armed police officers across Northamptonshire again after a recent a recent trial over Christmas received "positive" feedback.

The two-week operation, which saw visibly armed officers patrolling busy and crowded places in Northamptonshire over the Christmas and New Year period, has now come to an end.

The officers were deplloyed following a suspected terrorist attack on a Christmas Market in Berlin on Monday, December 19.

Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) patrolled "key locations" in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire with their firearms clearly on display during the two-week period.

With the threat level of a UK terror attack remaining at "severe" - the force is considering the armed patrols again in the future.

Head of the East Midlands Operational Support Service, Chief Superintendent Ian Howick, said: "The overwhelming response from the public, both on social media and face to face with the officers themselves, was very positive.

“Our aim was to alert people, not alarm them, and I hope we achieved that. While the officers have now returned to their usual, less visible style of policing, we cannot rule out the possibility of using overtly armed patrols again in the future.”

People in Northamptonshire are asked to remain vigilant and to report anything they believe to be suspicious to the police.

The high visibility armed patrols started on Thursday 22 December and finished on Tuesday 3 January. No one was arrested during these patrols.