- Armed officers support Met Police.
- Crisis triggered by murder charge.
- Review focuses on accountability mechanisms.
In response to a crisis within the Metropolitan Police following a murder charge against one of its officers in the Chris Kaba case, armed officers from other UK forces will be deployed to provide support. This move comes as more than 100 specialists within the Metropolitan Police have temporarily stepped back from their firearm duties. The crisis has prompted a review ordered by Home Secretary Suella Braverman to ensure that armed officers feel confident in carrying out their responsibilities, and soldiers are on standby to assist armed police if needed.
The turmoil emerged following the murder charge against a police officer, identified only as NX121 due to an anonymity order granted by a district judge. This charge is related to the shooting of 24-year-old Chris Kaba, which occurred in Streatham Hill, south London, in September of the previous year. The situation has raised concerns within the Metropolitan Police, leading to a growing number of officers opting to withdraw from armed duties as they contemplate their roles.
As announced by the Metropolitan Police, a limited contingent of armed officers from various UK forces will join Metropolitan firearms officers beginning Saturday evening in order to maintain public safety and respond effectively to any potential situations.Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has welcomed the review initiated by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, emphasizing the need for armed officers to have confidence in performing their duties.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also supported the review, emphasizing the importance of clarity regarding the legal powers of armed officers.
He acknowledged the split-second decisions they make to safeguard lives and stressed the need for clear and certain guidance.
Former Metropolitan Police firearms officer Tony Long highlighted concerns about London’s safety, stating that less-trained officers are taking up unprepared duties due to armed officers’ withdrawal. He highlighted the importance of restoring public safety by allowing trained armed response units to carry out their duties effectively.
In a letter addressing the crisis, Commissioner Sir Mark suggested potential legal changes related to the interpretation of self-defence in police misconduct cases, the introduction of a criminal standard of proof for unlawful killing in inquests and inquiries, and revisions to the threshold for launching investigations by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). He emphasized the need for an accountability system rooted in integrity and swift decision-making, maintaining that the public expects the highest standards of policing.
The crisis within the Metropolitan Police underscores the importance of addressing accountability mechanisms, policies, and practices to ensure the confidence of both officers and the communities they serve, particularly in cases involving the use of force and pursuits. A comprehensive review of these aspects, with a focus on the threshold for investigating police use of force and involvement in pursuits, is essential to restore trust and effectiveness in law enforcement.