Why British front-line police fear a much higher toll if a Paris-style attack happens there

In France, all 278,000 police officers carry guns. The corresponding figure in Britain is just 6,000, so the assurances from the Home Secretary, Theresa May, that procedures are ‘in place’ to deal with rapidly moving terrorist situations are greeted with deep scepticism.

Most police officers attending terrorist incidents are virtual spectators until an armed response vehicle (ARV) can be summoned to the scene.

The lack of ARVs has caused real concern among officers, particularly those in smaller, more rural forces, who believe they and the public are being placed at intolerable risk on a daily basis.