Orthodox community volunteer service Shomrim has welcomed the “reassuring” sight of armed police patrolling the streets of Stamford Hill.
Security volunteers at Shomrim’s north-east London branch thanked the Metropolitan Police for providing extra armed units around the capital as part of Operation Hercules, saying this “acts both as deterrence and reassurance”.
The move follows Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe’s promise to deploy more visibly armed officers on targeted patrols, both in vehicles and on foot, after a string of deadly terrorist attacks in European cities.
“The threat level in the UK is severe, which means that an attack is highly likely,” he said, explaining that officers would be visibly armed with handguns, semi-automatic weapons and tasers in a “change of tactic”.
A spokesperson for Community Security Trust said told Jewish News, they and “the Police have worked very closely together to plan and enact armed foot patrols in various areas of London with large Jewish communities. It is not in response to any specific threat, but is part of the overall increase in visibly armed Police patrols in London. This is all made sadly necessary because of the overall general situation, and our community should expect to see more of CST and Police doing it in future.”
Online, the reaction on social media seemed split as to whether the sight of armed officers was reassuring. One user tweeted that “semi-automatic weapons on the street makes me feel less safe,” while another agreed it was “the opposite of reassuring”.
However Hackney Police responded, saying: “Times are changing. The MPS has to be prepared for an attack. Don’t be alarmed, be alert.”