London, England – ‘Hundreds’ of Metropolitan Police firearms officers are voluntarily stepping back from armed duties.
This decision comes after one of their colleagues was charged with the murder of 24-year-old Chris Kaba in South London last year.
The Metropolitan Police have stated that the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to bring a charge against the officer “signals a shift in the way the decisions they take in the most challenging circumstances will be judged.”
Social Media Backing
The public sentiment echoes the concerns of these officers.
Emergency Services News conducted a poll on X, in which a staggering 97.7% of respondents supported the officers’ decision to relinquish their firearms authorisations.
Paul, a social media user, said, “I would support every AFO in the country if they handed their authorisation in. Let the country survive without them.”
Andy added, “Let’s get behind these officers and support them. There needs to be an emergency overhaul of the system and the IOPC!”
Adding to the gravity of the situation, Metropolitan Police data reveals that a total of 9,347 officers left the force in the year 2022/23.
This marks the highest number of officers to leave the Met in a single year since comparable headcount data began in 2006/07.
Statement from the Metropolitan Police Federation
The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents officers, weighed in on the issue, stating:
“Being a firearms officer in London is one of the world’s toughest jobs. Officers, who volunteer for the role, know the responsibility and accountability that come with it.”
They added, “This decision will leave serving Metropolitan Police colleagues concerned as they go about their incredibly difficult and dangerous work.
“The officer in question retains our full support as we now go through the legal process.”
As criminal proceedings continue, senior Met officers, including Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, are engaged in ongoing discussions with firearms officers, who are “reflecting on the potential price of such weighty responsibilities.”
This situation comes at a time when London is experiencing a notable increase in firearms-related incidents.
According to the Metropolitan Police, there were 237 firearms-related incidents in the city in the 12 months leading up to March 2023, marking a 24% increase compared to the previous year.
Additionally, the number of shootings in London for the same period rose by 25%, with 69 recorded incidents.
This uptick in firearms-related incidents and shootings is a grave concern for Londoners.
With fewer specialised officers to respond to such high-risk situations, the onus ultimately falls on ordinary, law-abiding citizens who are left to bear the brunt of this insecurity.
The public may now be faced with slower response times and less effective interventions in critical incidents involving firearms, thereby increasing the risks to their safety.
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