Army on standby after Met Police officers hand in their weapons

UK

The Ministry of Defence has placed the army on standby to support the Metropolitan Police after “more than 100” armed officers handed in their weapons.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has launched a review after a growing number of Scotland Yard officers turned in their firearms following a force marksman being charged with the murder of Chris Kaba.

Scotland Yard requested military support for counter-terrorism duties if armed officers are unavailable.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed it will now assist the police with specific tasks when needed.

An MOD spokesperson said: “We have accepted a Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) request from the Home Office to provide routine counterterrorism contingency support to the Metropolitan Police, should it be needed.”

To deal with the protests, officers from neighbouring forces stepped in to help patrol the capital on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Ms Braverman said officers “must not fear ending up in the dock or carrying out their duties”.

Mr Kaba died in Streatham Hill, southeast London, in September 2022 after being shot through a car windscreen.

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Kaba: Officer charged with murder

Officer NX121

An officer accused of his murder, named only as NX121, appeared in court on Thursday.

Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has since met with 70 firearms officers who operate across London, with many of them “understandably anxious” following the decision.

A Met Police spokesperson said: “”Many are worried about how the decision impacts on them, on their colleagues and on their families.

“They are concerned that it signals a shift in the way the decisions they take in the most challenging circumstances will be judged.

“A number of officers have taken the decision to step back from armed duties while they consider their position. That number has increased over the past 48 hours.

“We are in ongoing discussions with those officers to support them and to fully understand the genuinely held concerns that they have.”

‘These skills are voluntary’

Sky News policing commentator Graham Wettone said officers do not feel they have the support and backing of senior leaders.

“This has led to officers deciding they no longer want to, for example, drive police cars or carry weapons. Those skills are voluntary, they don’t have to do them and now we are seeing some choose not to,” he said.

Read more:
Family say ‘life became meaningless’
Kaba was ‘set to become a father’

NX121 was released on bail on the conditions, with a possible trial scheduled for 9 September next year.

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