Christmas shoppers will see more armed officers on the streets this Christmas and New Year as the police promote their Action Counters Terrorism campaign.

Footfall into town centres is expected to increase over the festive period, and shoppers and party-goers are being urged to stay alert and report any suspicious activity while they are out and about.

The increase in visibility of officers is part of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire's armed policing unit operation which will see armed officers carry out more proactive patrols.

The move, which has not been introduced because of any specific intelligence, is designed to help make the public feel reassured and ensure more regular armed patrols are carried out at key locations across the three counties.

Chief Inspector Julia Hands, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Armed Policing Unit, said: “The safety of the public is our number one priority which is why we’ve decided to increase the visibility of our armed officers.

“I’d like to reassure the public that this move is not being taken because of any intelligence about any current threats, and if anyone does have any concerns please do speak to one of our officers while they’re out and about.”