London police refuse firearms duties over colleague's murder charge

Last week a London firearms officer appeared in court over the death of 24-year-old Chris Kaba in September 2022.
Image used for representation.
Image used for representation.

LONDON: A number of London police have stepped back from firearms duties after a fellow officer was charged with murder over the fatal shooting of a young black man, a force spokesman said Sunday.

The specialist firearms officers, around 100 according to one report, had handed in their tickets, accreditation that allows them to carry guns while on duty.

Last week a London firearms officer appeared in court over the death of 24-year-old Chris Kaba in September 2022.

Kaba died hours after he was struck by a single gunshot fired into the vehicle he was driving in the Streatham area of south London.

A Met Police spokesman said "a number of officers have taken the decision to step back from armed duties while they consider their position", with the number rising in the past 48 hours.

Police in Britain are not routinely armed and the small proportion who are authorised to carry guns are highly trained.

"Many are worried about how the decision impacts on them, on their colleagues and on their families," the spokesman said.

"They are concerned that it signals a shift in the way the decisions they make in the most challenging circumstances will be judged," he added.

After Kaba's death, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Metropolitan Police's headquarters.

The man's family welcomed the decision to charge the unnamed officer, saying they and the wider community needed to "see justice for Chris".

INQUEST, a charity that works on state-related deaths, said that since 1990 in the UK there had been 1,870 deaths in or following police custody or contact.

In that time there had been only one successful prosecution of a police officer -- for manslaughter in 2021 -- and none for murder.

The Met, the UK's largest police force, has come under fire in recent years over a string of scandals including the kidnap, rape and murder of a young woman by a serving officer.

The force currently has around 1,000 officers suspended or on restricted duties while they are investigated for alleged wrongdoing and incompetence.

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The New Indian Express