LONDON (AP) — London police said Sunday that some officers are refusing to carry out armed patrols after a colleague was accused of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.
A Metropolitan Police shooter was charged on Wednesday for September 2022. death of Chris Kaba, 24. Kaba died after officers in an unmarked vehicle chased and stopped the car he was driving. He was hit by a single bullet fired through the windshield while he was sitting in the Audi car.
The case renewed accusations of institutional racism within the London police department. Kaba’s family welcomed the murder charge against the officer, whose name has not been publicly identified. He was granted probation and is expected to stand trial next year.
Only about one in 10 London police officers carry firearms, and those who do carry them receive special training.
The Metropolitan Police said on Sunday that “a number of officers have made the decision to withdraw from armed duties while they consider their position.” He said officers were concerned that the murder charge “signals a change in the way the decisions they make in the most difficult circumstances will be judged.”
The BBC said more than 100 officers had handed in their firearms permits and police from neighboring forces were called in to help patrol London on Saturday night.
The force said it still had “significant firearms capability” but had asked the Ministry of Defense to provide assistance with “counter-terrorism support should it become necessary”.
The request means soldiers could be called upon to perform specific tasks that police cannot perform, but they will not perform routine police work or have the power to arrest.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, in charge of policing for the UK Conservative government, said she would review armed policing to ensure armed officers “have the confidence to do their job”.
“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 should not fear ending up in the dock for carrying 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.”
Fatal police shootings in the UK are rare. In the year to March 2022, armed officers in England and Wales fired weapons at people four times, according to official statistics.
It is also extremely rare for British police officers to be charged with murder or manslaughter for actions taken while on duty.
In one of the few cases in recent years, a police officer was sentenced in 2021 to eight years in prison for the murder of Dalian Atkinson, a former professional footballer who died after being shot with a stun gun and kicked in the head during an altercation. The officer, Benjamin Monk, was acquitted of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.
The shooting of Kaba came amid intense scrutiny by the Metropolitan Police. In 2021, an officer pleaded guilty to kidnapping, raping, abducting and killing Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared while walking home after visiting a friend. Another officer, who worked in the same parliamentary and diplomatic protection unit, pleaded guilty in January to committing dozens of rapes between 2003 and 2020.
In March a independent review found that the London force had lost public trust due to deep-rooted racism, misogyny and homophobia.
The force says it is committed to rooting out misconduct and has dismissed about 100 officers for serious misconduct over the past year. But said last week It could take years to remove all corrupt officials.