ARMED police officers will be increasing their patrols across Greater Manchester ahead of events this summer.

Greater Manchester Police said the changes are not in response to any specific threat but "to simply provide visible reassurance."

Their Specialist Operation Branch, which is responsible for armed policing, has announced that there will be a more visible presence at high profile venues and events across the city.

Armed officers are likely to be seen at events which are likely to attract large crowds, such as the upcoming Great Manchester Run.

Police said the move was to improve safety, and to help members of the public feel more relaxed.

Supt Mark Dexter, of the specialist branch, said: "As frontline responders we understand that the public want to see more officers out and about in Greater Manchester, particularly when they are at large events such as concerts and football matches.

“We have worked closely with our partners within the city and wider afield as we look to engage with businesses, companies and communities alike to support Greater Manchester across the summer months and beyond.

“We hope by increasing our armed officer visibility, it shows that we do listen to feedback and this move will make you feel safer and more relaxed while out enjoying yourselves.

“I know some people can find armed officers intimidating and might feel nervous about seeing them however we’d like to reassure people that they are there to help in any way they can just like unarmed officers you’d see on patrol.

“They are normal people just like you and me, with families and friends, and I am sure that they would appreciate hellos, smiles and friendly words whilst carrying out their duties.

“Our number one priority is keeping the public safe and if this increased visibility helps people feel more at ease, then we see this as a positive step.”

Greater Manchester Police said that a similar approach to armed policing at last year’s Christmas Markets in Manchester city centre received positive feedback from members of the public.