Police forces across the mainland are to receive three months of intensive weapons training. The purpose is to improve the skills of police officers on the front line, especially those assigned to street patrols or responding to emergencies, according to the Ministry of Public Security. Police on the mainland rarely carry firearms and the training would ensure officers "legally, regularly, effectively use weapons to stop or deter crime in a timely manner when handling violence that severely threatens public security", Xinhua said. Teams of specialist instructors would teach officers around the country, Xinhua reported. The initiative comes in the wake of the knife attacks at Kunming railway station on March 1 that officials have blamed on separatists from Xinjiang . The rampage left 33 people dead, among them four of the attackers. The police response was criticised after it emerged that an officer who shot dead the attackers had first to seek official permission before opening fire. Legally, regularly, effectively use weapons to stop or deter crime Xinhua on aims of the police training After the incident, security measures have been boosted in nearly all mainland cities and police have been instructed to use their weapons more decisively when facing similar situations. Many police, however, are still uncertain when to draw their guns and some have died or been injured after accidentally firing their weapons for lack of proper training. A policeman killed himself at a highway security checkpoint in Baoji , Shaanxi province, during a counterterrorism operation on March 12, the provincial government said. The 46-year-old officer misfired his machine gun and died in hospital from his injuries. Last year, 449 policemen and women died on duty, the highest toll in five years, according to the Public Security Ministry. Although nearly half of these deaths were attributed to physical exhaustion from overwork, more than 30 per cent died in clashes with criminals, the ministry said. Security has been significantly increased in Jiangsu province in recent weeks. A large number of police have been deployed to the streets in armoured vehicles, allowing them to respond to any incident in city centres in three to five minutes, according to the provincial government news website. More than 11,700 policemen and women are now on patrol in the province each day, backed up by nearly 3,000 vehicles carrying riot gear and weapons including pistols and machine guns. The patrols are conducted around the clock, with the greatest attention focused on business districts, transport hubs, hospitals, schools and tourist attractions.