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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 20:50 GMT 21:50 UK
Armed police on patrol
Armed police
The patrols will help reassure the public
Armed police have taken to the streets of Manchester in an effort to tackle gun crime.

Operation Goodwood is a pilot scheme set up to deter dangerous criminals and reassure the public.

Residents in south Manchester have seen a rise in gun-related crime - in the past six weeks there have been four incidents of unarmed officers being threatened at gunpoint.

Now officers from the firearms unit will accompany their unarmed colleagues.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Green
Asst Ch Con Alan Green: "Officers' bravery"

They will also aid in the use of stop and search powers and in covert operations and intelligence gathering.

Armed crime has increased in recent years and in this year alone, police have recovered 623 firearms - ranging from replica pistols to sub-machine guns - in Greater Manchester.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Green said that not only were the measures there to help protect the public, they had been introduced to protect his officers.

"Recently, the level of firearms incidents particularly in areas of south Manchester has reached an intolerable level," he said.

"The bravery of our officers is unquestionable but we cannot allow armed thugs to threaten them without challenge.

"We anticipate that the presence of firearms officers will offer reassurance to both police officers and members of the public."

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The BBC's June Kelly
"One of the aims is to reassure the local community"

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See also:

20 Apr 02 | England
Police hunt armed gang
10 Apr 02 | England
Pregnant teenager shot in street
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