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We can now shoot terrorist drivers

We can now shoot terrorist drivers

Firearms training: Toughest school in Britain?

Simon Chesterman, who is in charge of firearms policing, revealed how the United Kingdom would have the most "potent" armed response in modern times.

He said the gap that developed in recent years has been filled with armed vehicle response officers as opposed to more "basic" firearms personnel. Members of these units are highly trained, including in operations involving ships or aircraft.

Mr Chesterman, a deputy chief constable, added that there specialist skills and knowledge involved in boarding train carriages, particularly Tube trains inside tunnels.

Counter-terrorism specialists admitted yesterday the threat posed by extremists striking in the United Kingdom will mean that numbers in armed policing units will have to continue to be strengthened to try to preserve national security.

"We have the ability to move much quicker to resolve situations. We know now what to do and how to do it".

Some of these will specialise in responding to ongoing terrorist incidents.

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But he added: "I'm confident that our armed response vehicle officers are equipped with the right weaponry and ammunition to stop a lorry".

They are used to patrol gun crime hotspots in London as part of their regular duties, but are in the front line for any response to a terror attack.

American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, Spanish teacher Aysha Frade, 44, and Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 31, were killed after a vehicle driven by terrorist Khalid Masood ploughed into crowds on Westminster Bridge on 22 March.

But he said the approach had changed in the wake of attacks such as those in Westminster, Nice and Berlin.

According to the BBC, he said: "We've seen some very frightful and different tactics lately involving vehicles and lorries".

Officers were previously told not to shoot drivers of moving vehicles because of the additional dangers it posed, Simon Chesterman said.

British police are being ordered to shoot terrorist drivers using vehicles as weapons, under new "more aggressive tactics".

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"Driving a vehicle in front of it for example is not going to stop it. So you need to shoot the driver", he said.

Chesterman said as well as the new training, armed officers will be given high powered.556 calibre ammunition capable of penetrating glass and body armour to prevent bullets deflecting off vehicles.

Elite marksmen have been given new assault rifles ready to eliminate terrorists who get behind the wheel in a bid to cause a bloodbath.

The number of firearms officers is set to rise to about 10,500 by next year - the same level as 2010.

An increase in numbers would reverse the trend of recent years, however.

But Mr Chesterman also warned there was a "perfect storm" brewing in the background, which could hit efforts to attract the best candidates to armed policing and retain current personnel.

"They naturally have concerns about the impact their job could have on their families".

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