UK: London police seeks army backup as personnel protest against colleague’s murder charge downing arms

The Met police has sought counter-terrorism support from the Army

London Met police Representational image

The London Met police have sought the support of the Army as personnel in its force are laying down arms in protest against murder charge against a colleague. The Met police have sought counter-terrorism support from the Army.

According to reports, around 90 to 100 Met firearms officers laid down their arms by Saturday evening and refused to carry out regular armed duties. A police officer of the force was charged with the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Chris Kaba, who was reportedly unarmed when he was killed. 

The Guardian quoting a Met spokesperson reported, “The Ministry of Defence has agreed to a request to provide the Met with counter-terrorism support should it be needed. This is a contingency option that would only be used in specific circumstances and where an appropriate policing response was not available. Armed forces personnel will not be used in a routine policing capacity. We will keep the need for the support under constant review.”

The defence ministry also said that they have accepted a request from Met police. 

Kaba was killed after officers in an unmarked vehicle pursued and stopped the car he was driving. He was struck by a single bullet fired through the windshield as he sat in the Audi car. The case renewed allegations of institutional racism within the London police department.

Kaba's family welcomed the murder charge against the officer, who has not been publicly named. He was granted conditional bail and is expected to stand trial next year.

Only about one in 10 of London's police officers carry firearms, and the ones that do undergo special training. It said officers were concerned that the murder charge signals a shift in the way the decisions they make in the most challenging circumstances will be judged.

The BBC said more than 100 officers had turned in their firearm permits and that police from neighbouring forces were called in to help patrol London on Saturday night.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who is in charge of policing for the UK's Conservative government, said she would review armed policing to ensure that armed officers have the confidence to do their jobs. “In the interest of public safety, they have to make split-second decisions under extraordinary pressures,” Braverman posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“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,” she tweeted.

(With PTI inputs.)

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