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I fail to see how armed officers are intruding on our daily lives, should we not appreciate that the government are taking steps to safeguard transport hubs from specific threats. The possibility of a ‘Mumbai’ style attack is a real threat which the security services are constantly picking up ‘chatter’ on, and the use of static or on location assests would give those first responders the best chance of containing the situation in the first instance.
I would say the comparison to the IRA campaign against mainland UK, would be an unsuitable one to draw upon. The threat posed by the IRA was almost exclusively bomb related here and therefore the need for armed officers didnt exist, however different measures were, the removal / sealing of bins in all transport hubs and specialist search dogs for example. And surely the regular bomb scares and hoaxes particulary in London were more intrusive / disruptive than the sight of armed officers.
Different threat, different deterrent / protection.