Some Metropolitan police officers point guns at Chris Kaba’s death.


Police officers in London are stepping down from armed duties after a member of the Metropolitan Police Service was charged last week in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in 2022.

An unspecified number of Metropolitan Police officers are no longer carrying firearms “while they consider their role”, according to a statement from the police service. The number of armed off-duty officers has increased over the past 48 hours, he said, adding that the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to charge an officer with murder “signals a change in the way judgments are made”. [that police] A decision will be made under very difficult circumstances.”

Compared to the United States, a relatively small proportion of police officers in the UK carry firearms. They require a special license to do so and are deployed only in limited circumstances. “Where firearms assistance is required, it is carried out by specially trained and accredited firearms officers known as authorized firearms officers,” says guidance on the Metropolitan Police’s website. Is.”

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Armed officers from neighboring police forces have been asked to support the Metropolitan Police, according to a statement from the service. Additionally, the UK Ministry of Defense said in a statement that it had received a request to provide “minor counter-terrorism emergency support” to the Metropolitan Police, should it be required.

Citing unnamed sources, the BBC reported on Monday that more than 100 armed officers had submitted their weapons permits. The Washington Post could not independently verify the figures.

“The Met has significant firearms capability and we have armed officers stationed in communities across London as well as in Parliament, diplomatic compounds, airports and other locations,” the police service said.

The officer, whose name has not been released, was charged Wednesday in the Sept. 5, 2022, fatal shooting of Chris Caba. The 24-year-old, who was shot in south London, was driving an Audi whose license plate number had been linked to a “firearm incident” since yesterday, according to the independent Office for Police Conduct, which oversees England’s police forces. in accordance.

An unmarked police car followed Kiba until 10 p.m., when he turned onto a street where a marked police car was waiting, according to the office. Officers approached the Audi and “contact was made” between the Audi and the police vehicles, the office said. An officer standing in front of the Audi fired a shot through the vehicle’s windshield, hitting Kiba, the Independent Office for Police Conduct wrote.

Kaba was taken to a London hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:16 a.m. on September 6, 2022, according to the office.

Kiba’s family and lawyers said he was unarmed. Rallies took place across London in support of the Kaaba. Days after the fatal shooting, the Metropolitan Police suspended the officer who fired the weapon. After the officer was charged Wednesday, he posted bail and is expected to stand trial next year.

Daniel McIver, an attorney representing Kiba’s family, said in a statement Wednesday that the indictment gives relatives “some hope that justice will be served for Chris.”

“Over the past year, Chris’s family has shown extraordinary dignity and strength as they demand answers about how Chris was killed, and demand justice and accountability,” McIver said.

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The Metropolitan Police employs around 2,600 firearms officers, a fraction of the more than 34,000 officers employed by the service, according to figures published by local authorities in June.

Incidents of police officers being killed in the UK are relatively rare. According to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, there were three in the year to 31 March 2023 – one more than the number recorded last year.

On Friday, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said his officers were “understandably concerned” as they considered how their future actions on duty could be decided.

“When officers have the level of uncertainty and anxiety I saw in my colleagues today, it takes courage to go about your job knowing only what events are ahead of them,” Rowley said. “

Prime Minister Rishi Shankar told reporters on Monday morning that police officers need certainty about the legal powers they have.

“Our firearms officers do an incredibly difficult job. They are making life-or-death decisions in a moment to keep us safe, and we are grateful for their bravery,” he said. “It is now important that when they are exercising these legal powers, they do so with clarity.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman Written on X — formerly known as Twitter — that it would launch a review to make sure police “have the confidence to do their job protecting us all.”

In a letter to Braverman on Sunday, Rowley wrote that a review was “long overdue.” He said the UK’s system of holding officers accountable “is not set up to help officers succeed” because “years-long legal proceedings affect their personal well-being.”

Rowley suggested that the investigation against the officers should proceed quickly and only when all the facts are reported. He also suggested that the Crown Prosecution Service provide stronger protection for officers who use force.

“Accountability is an issue, but we should not have allowed ourselves to develop a system where police officers are investigated for safely pursuing suspects, simply because the suspect acted recklessly and resulting in harm to self or someone else,” he wrote. “This is unfair to our officers and discourages them from pursuing criminals.”

Kaba’s death comes amid wider trust issues for the Metropolitan Police. The force has come under fire for the behavior of some of its officers and the way it investigated government parties during the pandemic lockdown. Public confidence was hit particularly hard after a serving London officer was convicted of murdering marketing executive Sarah Everard.

Leo Sands and Carla Adam in London contributed to this report.



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