London, September 25
UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman has launched a review into the legal protections for officers on firearms duties after a revolt within Scotland Yard ranks following a murder charge against a Metropolitan Police officer who had discharged his gun while on duty.
The UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) is said to have offered soldiers as backup support for armed police in London after several officers turned in their weapon-carrying permits since their colleague was charged last week.
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had authorised charges against the officer, granted legal anonymity, in connection with a shooting in September last year.
"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," Braverman said in a post on X on Sunday.
"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," Indian-origin Braverman said.
The Met Police chief, Sir Mark Rowley, welcomed Braverman's review into the issue in an open letter on Monday and stressed that it was important to "let the police police".
"It is essential that we have a system which commands the confidence of officers and the communities they serve," wrote Rowley.
"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," he said.
More than 100 officers are believed to have handed in permits allowing them to carry weapons after their colleague was charged over the shooting of Chris Kaba, 24, in south London.
"The CPS reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against the officer are active and that he has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings," said Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, last week.
The CPS Special Crime Division deals with the most complex and sensitive cases in England and Wales, including serious criminal allegations against police officers.
An estimated 2,595 officers are licensed as firearms officers in the Met Police, governed by a set of rules, procedures and accountability processes for being authorised to carry weapons.
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