In an unprecedented move that has shocked the nation, more than 100 firearms officers from the Metropolitan Police have handed in their blue authorisation cards, effectively sidelining themselves from armed duties.
This comes in the wake of the charging of an officer, known only as NX121, with the murder of 24-year-old Chris Kaba.
The situation has left only one of the seven Counter Terrorism firearm units operational in London.
According to a recent poll conducted by Emergency Services News on our X account, an overwhelming 97.3% of respondents support the firearms officers who have relinquished their permits.
This decision to hand in their authorisation for firearms comes at a critical time for the Met, as public support for the officers appears to be strong.
Morale in the Metropolitan Police
The morale within the Metropolitan Police is extremely low, with 9,347 officers leaving the force in the 2022/23 financial year.
This marks the highest departure rate since comparable data began being recorded in 2006/07.
Surge in Firearm-Related Incidents
At the same time, London is grappling with a concerning rise in firearm-related incidents and shootings.
According to the Metropolitan Police, there were 237 firearms-related incidents in London in the 12 months leading up to March 2023—a 24% increase compared to the previous year.
Additionally, there were 69 shootings in the same time frame, representing a 25% increase on the prior year.
Armed Forces Involvement and Review
The situation is dire enough that the Ministry of Defence has agreed to provide counter-terrorism support if needed, although armed forces personnel won’t be used in routine policing capacities.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has ordered a review of armed police, stating that officers mustn’t fear prosecution for carrying out their duties.
The Met Commissioner has also urged for a reset in accountability mechanisms for officers.
Metropolitan Police Federation Statement
The Metropolitan Police Federation has stated that being a firearms officer in London is one of the world’s toughest jobs, and officers know the responsibility and accountability that come with it.
They have also expressed concern over the recent CPS decision, saying it has affected officers’ morale as they do their difficult and dangerous work.
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