Suella Braverman has backed armed officers who surrendered their weapons after a colleague was charged with the murder of Chris Kaba, ordering a review to “ensure they have the confidence to do their job while protecting us all “.
A large number of Metropolitan Police firearms officers have relinquished their armed duties after the Crown Prosecution Service charged an unnamed police sniper with the murder of the 24-year-old black man.
Kaba died after being shot in the head while in a car he was driving in Streatham Hill, south-east London, in September 2022. The firearms official accused of his murder has appeared – identified only as NX121 – at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
According to the BBC, at least 100 firearms officers have since handed in their firearms passes, fearing how future police shootings will be judged by the CPS. While refusing to confirm the exact number of officers who had surrendered their weapons, Scotland Yard admitted the number had increased over the past two days.
Reacting to the reports, the Interior Minister published on X on Sunday: “We depend on our courageous gun controllers to protect us from the most dangerous and violent elements in society. In the interest of public safety, they must make split-second decisions under extraordinary pressure.
“They should not fear finding themselves in the dock for having carried out their duties. The officers who risk their lives to keep us safe have my full support and I will do everything in my power to support them.
“That’s why I’ve launched a review to ensure they have the confidence to do their job while keeping us all safe.”
The Met police officer appeared in court on Thursday over the fatal shooting as senior officers including Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley met with firearms officers in recent days to consider the charge of murder.
A Met Police spokesperson said: “Many are concerned about the impact of the decision on them, their colleagues and their families. They fear it signals a change in how the decisions they make in the most difficult circumstances will be judged.
“A number of officers have made the decision to step away from armed duty while they consider their position. This number has increased over the past 48 hours.
The spokesperson added: “The Met has significant firearms capacity and we continue to deploy armed officers to communities across London as well as other sites including Parliament, diplomatic missions, airports, etc. »
“Our priority is to ensure the safety of the public. We are closely monitoring the situation and exploring contingency options, if necessary. »
The Met has more than 3,000 firearms officers across multiple units. To deal with the situation, armed officers from neighboring forces moved in to help patrol the capital on Saturday evening.