- Gun-carrying officers to stand guard outside Kent's iconic place of worship
- Extra patrols will also guard Bluewater shopping centre and Dover's port
- Comes after Home Office announced all police forces should increase firearms patrols to protect the public
Gun-carrying officers will stand guard outside Canterbury Cathedral in Kent (pictured) after an increase in the number of international terror attacks and a rise in national threat levels
Armed police will patrol Canterbury Cathedral from today in the latest tightening of security following terror attacks in Europe.
Gun-carrying officers will stand guard outside the iconic place of worship after an increase in the number of international terror attacks and a rise in national threat levels.
The Cathedral - founded in 597AD - was rebuilt by William the Conqueror and is one of England's oldest Christian buildings surviving the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Blitz.
Extra patrols will also guard Bluewater shopping centre and Dover's port although Kent Police stress there was no direct threat to the Cathedral or other sites.
The move follows a Home Office announcement that all police forces in England and Wales should increase firearms patrols to protect the public.
Kent Deputy Chief Constable Paul Brandon said: 'As of today we will deploying armed officers at a number of iconic site across the county.
'We're doing the initial patrolling today from within the resources we have, supplemented with overtime, but are actually in the process of recruiting a number of new firearms officers to be deployed to other parts of the county.'
DCC Brandon added: 'We continue to regularly review the threat levels in the county in consultation with the Home Office to ensure we provide the most appropriate protection for the people of Kent.
'While we are not expecting a direct threat to the county, we do want to make sure that should circumstances change quickly, we are adequately prepared.
'Some of the locations extra patrols will visit include Canterbury city centre including the Cathedral, the Port of Dover and Bluewater, and we want the public to know what we're doing to protect them and not to panic if they see officers with firearms or tasers on patrol.
'An increase in firearms and taser patrols at key locations around the county will help us to continue to provide a first class service to the people of Kent.'
But finding enough armed police to man the cathedral and large shopping centres while also increasing the ranks at the Port of Dover may prove difficult, Kent's crime commissioner Matthew Scott warned last week.
He said: 'It is a challenge because you are asking someone, in the most severe circumstances, to take someone's life and that isn't something that every officer feels comfortable putting themselves forward for.
'We don't have huge numbers of firearms officers, but the ones we do have we must ensure that they have the best training and best equipment to go out and do the jobs they do.'
The armed officers will also carry tasers.
The heightened security measures come days after a failed car bomb attack targeted Notre Dame cathedral.
A 19-year-old woman was charged with attempted murder for stabbing a police officer on duty outside the cathedral earlier this month.
In July an 84-year-old priest was killed by ISIS-inspired terrorists while he delivered mass in a church near the northern French city of Rouen.
It led to an increase in security around British places of worship as authorities warned of similar attacks in the UK.