Yesterday afternoon, I saw an armed policeman outside the central library here in Reading. He was standing back from the road in a recess behind a pillar. I wouldn't say he was hiding, he was just being deliberately inconspicuous.
The last time I saw armed policemen in Reading was following the London bus bombings when, for several days there were two with submachine guns under their arms standing just ouside the main entrance to Reading Station. On that occasion they were clearly a show of force, intended to reassure the public. But the man yesterday was clearly not on show, and I found particularly worrying: some operation was going on, and it involved guns, and I did want to be around to see what it was. I hurried on home.
A week or so later I saw a prison van coming out from behind the library escorted by two police cars with blue lights flashing blue lights and sirens wailing. They must have been coming from the back entrance to the Crown Court where a trial of some dangerous criminals must have been going on. That could also be the explanation for the earlier presence of the armed policeman in the area.