SHANGHAI, April 20 (Xinhua) -- More than 1,000 policemen in Shanghai began carrying revolvers while on patrol Sunday as China tightens public security to deal with serious violent crimes.
The Ministry of Public Security invested in the firearms and specially designed them for its police force. The police officers qualified to carry them after a training series and examinations on laws and psychology, according to the municipal public security bureau.
The police will carry out routine patrols in pairs in densely populated areas, such as urban centers and transport hubs.
The municipal bureau solicited public opinion before it made the armed patrol decision, Rui Minghua, an official with the patrol police division, told Xinhua.
"The feedback showed that citizens are wide open to the new move and, actually, they are sort of looking forward to it," said Rui.
"We do so to raise the public sense of security and we are confident in ensuring that the firearms are safely used and keeping firearm abuse to a minimum," said the official.
Chinese police generally do not carry guns and gun crime is rare in China, which has tight controls on firearms.
Previously, Shanghai policemen carried batons, handcuffs, flashlights, first aid kits, walkie-talkies and tear gas bottles during patrols.
"I do feel some pressure in carrying a gun," said Wang Haiyi, a policeman with the Changning branch of the municipal public security bureau.
"It's obviously of great help for our daily work. And we will strictly follow the rules and laws when using it," said Wang, who has been in service for 21 years.
Following the fatal knife attacks in Kunming and Changsha, the ministry said in mid-March that it would carry out armed patrols and take timely measures to handle violent crimes.
Public security organs at all levels have been urged to increase work efficiency and improve the emergency command mechanism in order to fight crime.
In addition to Shanghai, the ministry named other key cities, such as Changsha, Kunming, Urumqi and Lhasa, where public security will be reinforced to effectively prevent and crack down on criminal activities.
The ministry also launched a three-month program in early March to train policemen in using firearms in accordance with the law.
Training mainly focuses on policemen who patrol streets and handle emergencies in big cities and county-level regions.
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