Met Police chief calls for more legal protections as army on standby to replace firearms officers

UK

The head of the Metropolitan Police has demanded increased legal protections for officers after a revolt by armed police left the army poised to fill in.

Soldiers are on standby for armed police after scores of Metropolitan Police officers stood down from firearms duties following a murder charge against one of their colleagues.

The force’s commissioner Sir Mark Rowley welcomed a review into the situation by Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

And in an open letter he told her to “let the police police”.

“It is essential that we have a system which commands the confidence of officers and the communities they serve,” he wrote.

“Of course, where wrongdoing takes place, the public expect us to be held to the highest standards.

“I have been clear on this in all areas of policing, and the use of force must be no exception.

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“The system that judges officers’ actions should be rooted in integrity and decisions should be reached swiftly, competently and without fear or favour.

“A review is needed to address accountability mechanisms, including the policies and practices of the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), ideally with a focus on the threshold for investigating police use of force and involvement in pursuits.”

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Met Police: Army on standby

He added: “The review announced today is therefore a very welcome development.

“I have spoken publicly in recent weeks about the need to let the police police.

“Our commitment to delivering change in the Met is unflinching and we are making positive progress, but that progress is undermined by a system not set up to help officers succeed.”

More than 100 officers have reportedly handed in permits allowing them to carry weapons, prompting Scotland Yard to turn to the military for assistance.

The crisis has emerged after an unnamed officer was charged with murder over the shooting of unarmed Chris Kaba, 24, who was killed in September last year in Streatham Hill, south London.

CHRIS KABA
Image:
Chris Kaba

The officer accused of his murder is named only as NX121 after a district judge granted an anonymity order.

Ms Braverman said: “We depend on our brave firearms officers to protect us from the most dangerous and violent in society.

“In the interest of public safety, they have to make split-second decisions under extraordinary pressures.

“They mustn’t fear ending up in the dock for carrying out their duties. Officers risking their lives to keep us safe have my full backing and I will do everything in my power to support them.

“That’s why I have launched a review to ensure they have the confidence to do their jobs while protecting us all.”

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