Kent intensifies armed police patrols to counter terror threat

    Canterbury Cathedral

    Residents in Kent and Essex have been warned they are likely to see a more visible armed police presence as the counties’ two police forces step up patrols to counter the terror threat against Britain.

    Both forces stressed there was no specific intelligence or information to suggest a direct threat in their areas.

    Kent Police said firearms and Taser patrols will be increased around key locations such as Canterbury Cathedral, the Port of Dover and Bluewater shopping centre.

    In Essex, armed officers are set to be deployed at various sites including Lakeside shopping centre and London Southend Airport.

    In the UK, the official threat level for international terrorism currently stands at severe – meaning an attack is seen as highly likely.

    The assessment has remained at severe – the second highest out of five categories – for more than two years.

    Kent Deputy Chief Constable Paul Brandon said: “We continue to regularly review the threat levels in the county in consultation with the Home Office to ensure we provide the most appropriate protection for the people of Kent.

    “While we are not expecting a direct threat to the county, we do want to make sure that should circumstances change quickly, we are adequately prepared,” he added.

    “Some of the locations extra patrols will visit include Canterbury city centre, including the cathedral, the Port of Dover and Bluewater, and we want the public to know what we’re doing to protect them and not to panic if they see officers with firearms or Tasers on patrol.”

    A drive to boost Britain’s armed policing resources was launched in the wake of the Paris attacks in November, with forces around the country training hundreds of extra personnel.

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