Every firearms officer in the capital will be on duty to protect the New Year celebrations in an unprecedented security operation, the Telegraph can disclose, as revellers are urged to carry on as normal.
Scotland Yard cancelled all New Year leave for more than 2,000 armed officers – the first time it has taken such a step – as part of the largest-ever police mobilisation for December 31 festivities.
It comes after a “friendly” intelligence agency warned Islamist fanatics may be planning a terror attack in a European city – although there is no specific information to suggest London will be targeted.
Boris Johnson MP, the Mayor of London, exhorted partygoers to “get out there” and “soak up” the atmosphere as the capital prepared for the chimes of Big Ben at midnight.
It is the first time leave has been cancelled for armed officers for New Year, although such steps have been taken for key events previously such as the London 2012 Olympics.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met Police Commissioner, has been forthright about the need for more armed officers on the streets in the wake of the Paris terror attacks which killed 130 in November.
Mr Johnson said: “It’s business as usual.
“From our fantastic fireworks on the banks of the Thames to thousands of events in pubs, clubs and restaurants across the city I’d urge Londoners and visitors alike to get out there and soak up the best we have to offer.
“As with any other major event in the capital our policing response will be appropriate, but I’d stress we’ve seen nothing to suggest a specific threat to London.”
Mr Johnson added: “I’ve no doubt people will be out there enjoying themselves in their hundreds of thousands. And so they should be.”
Mr Marsh, the leader of rank-and-file police in the capital, echoed the mayor’s comments and predicted Londoners would show their traditional resilience and enjoy the party as normal.
Read more: Telegraph