London's Metropolitan Police force considers armed foot patrols

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The Metropolitan Police force is considering armed foot patrols in areas where gang activity is likely
The Metropolitan Police is considering deploying armed officers on foot patrols in areas "where gang activity is likely" to prevent violence.Met commissioner Cressida Dick told a hearing earlier the move would only be used in "extreme circumstances".In a memo seen by the BBC, she said the measure would only be used for "short periods of time".Labour peer Lord Harris has warned it would be "seen as provocative" and "do little" to reduce violence in London.
'Temporary measure'
The number of violent deaths in London has reached 127 so far, surpassing 2017's total of 116 killings.
In a memo seen by the BBC, email recipients were told the idea of armed police on foot patrol was part of a "recent internal discussion" into how to reduce violent deaths in the capital.If adopted, the armed patrols would be "based on an informed and reliable intelligence picture of where gang activity is likely" and it would be done in "full consultation with the local policing borough" and be used as a "temporary measure for short periods of time", the memo stated.
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Challenge to armed police patrols
Ms Dick told a London Assembly hearing the change would only be "half a step on" from the status quo and represent a "small change in tactic in extreme circumstances".
Met crime commissioner Cressida Dick says the move would only be used in extreme circumstances
Met assistant commissioner Stephen House told the same hearing the armed patrols were a "range of tactics" the force was considering to "get ahead of the violence", and added it was at "very early stages" of a "very limited consultation".
'Will inspire fear'
The Met confirmed it had contacted a community group for "initial views" on how communities might be impacted by such activity, but had not yet made a decision.Lord Harris told the House of Lords today that he was "not convinced" the move would be helpful.He added: "It would be seen as provocative, it will inspire fear rather than reassurance, it will hinder community confidence and do little in itself to reduce the number of violent incidents."Ms Dick told the hearing she and her colleagues were "hugely aware" of the "sensitivity there has been over changes to the disposition of armed officers".
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