Armed police ‘must be supported’ by Met Police amid scrutiny over shooting of unarmed Black man

Internal backlash to suspension of officer who shot Chris Kaba sees officers threaten to ‘step back from armed duties’

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Editor
Wednesday 14 September 2022 16:20 BST
Met Police officer who shot Chris Kaba suspended from duty

Armed officers “must be supported” by the Metropolitan Police, representatives have said, as some threaten to leave their posts over the suspension of an officer who shot an unarmed Black man dead.

Chris Kaba, 24, was killed on 5 September after the car he was driving was flagged for links to a previous firearms incident.

The officer who fired the fatal shot was initially put on restricted duties but was formally suspended on Monday amid a homicide investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Amanda Pearson said the “significant impact on public confidence” was one of the factors behind the decision, which was publicly supported by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

An anonymous firearms officer told The Telegraph the suspension had caused “real anger in the ranks” and that armed police were “increasingly feeling ‘what is the point of doing this if our bosses do not have our backs’”.

“This has caused a great deal of upset among armed officers. Some of them have simply had enough and have said ‘that’s it, we’re out’,” the source added.

“Once they have completed their duties in relation to the Queen’s funeral they are planning to hand in their tickets and step back from armed duties.”

Firearms officers from across the UK have been deployed to London for the huge security operation around the Queen’s funeral and royal events including the proclamation of King Charles III.

Several protests have taken place over Mr Kaba’s death, which came months after the Metropolitan Police said it was “committed to becoming an actively anti-racist organisation”.

The IOPC has not yet confirmed whether race played any role in the shooting, and is looking at the decisions behind the pursuit of his vehicle - which was not registered to Mr Kaba - as well as the actions of the officer who opened fire.

The Police Firearms Officers Association, a welfare charity that supports armed police in the UK, said all police shootings should be investigated thoroughly.

Chris Kaba, 24, was soon to become a father (Family handout/PA)

Chief executive Mark Williams said he would not comment on the specific circumstances of Mr Kaba’s death but added: “We do believe it is the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police Service to show support for their staff.

“They should also acknowledge the immensely dangerous and difficult role those involved in armed police carry out.”

Scotland Yard said it recognised that armed police do “a difficult and often dangerous job every day to try to protect the public”, and that suspension would have a “significant impact” on the officer and his colleagues.

Ms Pearson added: “Senior colleagues are working closely with them to ensure they are fully supported. “Firearms officers know that on the rare occasions when they discharge their weapons, they will face intense scrutiny.

“The decision to suspend the officer does not determine the outcome of the IOPC investigation.”

Chief constable Simon Chesterman, the national lead for armed policing, said officers “understand the level of accountability and scrutiny that follows what is often a split-second decision made under intense pressure”.

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