Armed police patrol Scots streets after Westminster attack

Police cars outside Holyrood Image copyright PA
Image caption Security has been increased around the Scottish Parliament building

The number of armed police officers patrolling Scotland's streets has been increased in the wake of the Westminster terror attack.

Police Scotland's deputy chief constable Johnny Gwynne said the force's armed presence had been increased substantially overnight.

He told BBC Radio Scotland that they were part of an increased overall police presence in major cities.

Officers were deployed to "keep the streets of Scotland safe", he said.

Shortly after the attack on Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon said there was "no intelligence of any risk to Scotland".

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, Mr Gwynne said Police Scotland had been "closely engaged" with Metropolitan Police since the attack happened.

"We have well practised plans in place to increase security around the country when things like this happen and those were put in place within minutes of the incident happening yesterday," he added.

"Members of the public will have seen an increased police presence particularly around our major conurbations yesterday afternoon, through the evening and again this morning as Scotland travels to work.

"That's what you would expect to see. Within that we have officers who have armed capability. Regrettably in the world we live in today that's something that we need to put in place and there's a substantial armed presence on the streets this morning, not just in Scotland but elsewhere."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Four people died in the terrorr attack in London

He said he was unable to say exactly how many armed officers had been deployed.

But he added: "There's been a substantial uplift in armed officers overnight to make sure that we keep the streets of Scotland safe, that we keep the people of Scotland safe, the businesses in Scotland safe, on an ongoing basis."

He said officers were able to respond quickly following news of the London attack.

"I'm really grateful that yesterday officers and police staff from across the country dropped everything to ensure that literally within minutes - even before I'd asked the question - we had the right people in the right place, or moving to the right place, whether that was Edinburgh, Glasgow or other major cities to keep citizens safe right across this country," he added.

Mr Gwynne said there was a "hard core" of armed officers in Police Scotland and within that there were extra specialists.

Flags at half mast

"On top of that, we were able to move substantial numbers of unarmed staff for a high profile uniform presence right across the country," he said.

"So you may have noticed that this morning as you've driven into work or maybe as you've travelled by train through our major train stations, particularly in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen."

The officer also paid tribute to PC Keith Palmer, who died in the attack at Westminster.

He said: "Keith Palmer lost his life standing between us and harm yesterday and a number of other members of the public either lost their life or were hurt. Keith paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"You will notice across the police estate flags at half mast this morning and I know that colleagues here, their thoughts are with Keith's family this morning. "

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