ARMED police officers will soon be patrolling Barrow Island in a bid to increase security around the shipyard.

Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) officers are being tasked with beefing up security around the BAE Systems site. Nationally the force is responsible for guarding the UK's nuclear assets and nuclear weapons.

Armed officers will patrol parts of Michaelson Road, North Road and Bridge Road.

The MDP's Nuclear Tactical Firearms Unit provides a dedicated specialist firearms capability.

To join the unit officers must be able to pass a rigorous selection procedure to achieve their high level tactical dynamic search qualification.

Trained to the very highest national standard these officers work and train in a demanding environment in order to fulfil their key role in protecting the nation’s nuclear assets.

BAE bosses said the increased security was not in response to a specific threat.

A spokesman for the company said: "We'd like to reassure employees and members of the public that the deployment is not in response to any specific threat to our site.

"As part of a regular review of security and guarding arrangements on our Barrow site, the decision has been taken to introduce Ministry of Defence armed police as part of our site security response force.

"We've worked closely with Cumbria Police and MDP to develop this plan and we look forward to welcoming our MDP colleagues to Barrow."

The MDP is deployed at 36 defence locations around the UK.

A Ministry Of Defence spokesperson said: “The MDP will conduct mobile armed patrols in and around the BAE Systems Barrow-in-Furness site.

"The responsibility for dealing with general crime in the Barrow area will remain with Cumbria Constabulary.

“This will enhance the existing site security arrangements and will reflect the arrangements that are in place at other Defence Nuclear Enterprise sites.”

Although the MoD said crime prevention will remain the responsibility of Cumbria Police the sight of armed officers 'is a positive move' and will increase reassurance.

Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor said: “We have worked closely with both the MDP and BAE Systems to establish this deployment.

“Members of the public, particularly those who live and work locally, can be reassured that the future sight of armed officers on Michaelson Road, the Dock Museum or in the immediate area, will most likely be Ministry of Defence officers conducting their roving patrols.

“Cumbria officers will continue to work closely with partner agencies to ensure public safety outside of the BAE Systems site and be alert to support our colleagues on-site should there be a need.

“Any increased policing presence in the area is a positive move to prevent crime and keep people safe.”