THE ARMING of police officers was discussed in the House of Commons after an MP said there were only seven armed officers in Sussex Police.
Hove and Portslade MP Peter Kyle claimed in parliament that local police officers were the ‘frontline’ in dealing with terrorist attacks.
The Labour MP told Prime Minister David Cameron: “The frontline in intelligence and the frontline in responding to a terrorist attack is our local police forces.
“My local police force now only has, regularly, seven armed police officers on duty, and calls to neighbouring police forces for help has gone up 43 per cent.
“Can the prime minister assure the people of Brighton and Hove, who have a long history of dealing with terrorism that should another terrorist attack happen, the local force can cope without calling on neighbouring forces?”
Mr Cameron responded: “We’re looking at the number of armed response vehicles and armed officers that there are available. I don’t want to see the routine arming of the British police force but I think it is possible to see a growth in the pool of armed experts that can be called upon.
“As for forces sharing between each other, and going to each others aid, that’s always been part of the way British policing has worked.”
Writing on his public Facebook page after the exchange, Mr Kyle described himself as ‘thoroughly disheartened’ by the Prime Minister’s response.
“I will continue to press my case as forcefully as I can,” he added.
Mr Kyle said he had wanted to raise the issue in these times of ‘heightened security challenges’, to prevent a potential repeat of the attacks in Paris.
A video of the conversation can also be viewed here
Sussex Police has now responded to the claims.
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