Counter terror police have undergone specialist training to prepare them to take out lorry drivers who are using their vehicles as weapons, it has been revealed.
Armed officers have also been issued with high powered ammunition capable of penetrating armoured glass in a bid to ensure they can respond to the changing tactics of Isil inspired terrorists.
The new training and equipment has been rolled out in a response to the terrorist outrages in Nice and Berlin, where Islamists used articulated lorries to drive into crowds causing mass loss of life and casualties.
Armed police are receiving specialist training to deal with new threats
In order to combat the increasing terrorist threat, the number of armed police across Britain is expected to rise to more than 10,000 by next year.
But the armed officers are also being specially trained in military style tactics in order to prepare them for every possible scenario.
Simon Chesterman, who is the National Police Chief’s Council lead on armed policing said following the recent vehicle attacks, training had been changed and officers were now told to shoot the driver in the cab where necessary.
Terrorists used a truck in an attack on a Christmas market in Berlin
Mr Chesterman said: "As often happens the terrorists keep adapting their tactics. We have seen some horrible and different tactics lately using vehicles and lorries.
"It used to be that within our policy we used to talk about not shooting a moving vehicle, that was because of the danger we might cause if we fired at a driver then clearly we might cause a real problem with the vehicle.
"But if the vehicle is being used as a weapon in the first place there aren’t many tactics available in relation to stopping it, especially if it is a very large lorry.
"So driving a vehicle in front of it for example is not going to stop it so you need to shoot the driver."
Isil inspired terrorists have been using lorries as weapons
Mr Chesterman said shooting a driver through a windscreen presented a challenge for snipers because glass could deflect bullets.
But he said high powered .556 calibre ammunition had been issued to officers in Armed Response Vehicles, which was capable of penetrating glass and body armour.
More armed officers are being recruited
He said: "There are lots of different types of glass…what tends to happen is that when a bullet hits glass, it deflects the bullet and you have either got to take the glass out or you have got to have the right ammunition to penetrate the right glass.
"But I am confident that with the work we have done and the ammunition we carry that an ARV [Armed Response Vehicle] officer has the ability to fire at the cab of a lorry in order to bring it to a stop."
The number of firearms officers is set to rise to about 7,000 nationally, but those numbers will be boosted by the 3,500 attached to non-geographical forces – the British Transport Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the National Crime Agency and the Ministry of Defence Police.