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Rural police could 'routinely carry guns'

Front-line police in rural communities could be routinely armed in order to deal with terror threats, a police chief has said.

The move is being considered by the national police chiefs council due to a nationwide shortfall in specialist counter-terrorist firearms officers.

Simon Chesterman, national police chiefs' council lead for armed policing, said: "Of course, there are some communities within England and Wales where an attack is highly unlikely, but ultimately, if something does happen, we have got to be able to provide an armed response.

"We can't put an armed police officer on every street corner everywhere across the whole of the United Kingdom, so what we've had to do is analyse the threat.

"Arming rural police forces is not a favoured option, but I can't rule it out as this stage in terms of making sure all communities get the right level of protection from armed police."

Any decision on arming officers is a matter for the chief constable of each of the 43 local forces covering England and Wales.

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