Number of armed officers in Tyne and Wear set to rise

Northumbria Police are to increase the number of firearms officers by more than 50 per cent to provide reassurance across the force’s area.

The news comes following the home office’s decision last year to grant nine UK police forces more than £140 million in order to increase their firearms capacity, so that any large city in the country can swiftly respond to any threat.

Northumbria police have always made sure that their presence is felt at public events, such as the Sunderland air show, Tall Ships and the Great North Run and the force has now confirmed there will be a rise in authorised firearms officers or AFO’s to keep up that visible presence around Northumbria

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 the target of any terrorist activity, but we have the capability to respond quickly should we need to.”

Those joining the FSU will be recruited internally from area commands and departments from across the force as well as from other police forces from across the nation.

To become an AFO, new recruits must complete three years in the service before taking part in an intensive training course and the first of the new recruits that have been brought in to become one have joined the FSU earlier this month.

Chief Insp. Hall went on to say “AFO’s do not get paid any extra for being a part of this unit, they do it voluntarily to protect the people of Northumbria.

“I am immensely proud of every single member of my team, and I’m proud to say they are among the most talented firearms officers in the entire country.”

To find out more about the National Armed Uplift Programme (NAUP) visit the National Police Chiefs Council website.

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