• Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Military support no longer required after firearms protest says police

About 100 of the 2,595 specialist officers in London at the weekend handed in their accreditation that authorises them to carry guns while on duty

There were 147,430 full-time police officers in the 43 police forces in England and Wales at the end of March this year, according to government figures – Representative Image: iStock

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

The largest police force in the country announced on Monday (25) that it would no longer require military support, following an incident where armed officers protested by laying down their weapons due to a colleague being charged with murder.

A decision to charge the officer from London’s Metropolitan Police over the fatal shooting of a young black man saw a number of armed officers step back from frontline armed duties.

According to one report, about 100 of the 2,595 specialist officers in London at the weekend handed in their accreditation that authorises them to carry guns while on duty.

That prompted the Met to draft in cover from neighbouring forces to perform armed roles. The Ministry of Defence on Sunday also agreed to help with its counter-terrorism functions.

But the force said on Monday: “Discussions have been taking place with those officers throughout the weekend to understand their genuinely held concerns.

“The number of officers who have now returned to armed duties is sufficient for us to no longer require external assistance to meet our counter-terrorism responsibilities,” it added.

There were 147,430 full-time police officers in the 43 police forces in England and Wales at the end of March this year, according to government figures.

But of these only 6,651 were authorised to carry weapons and even fewer — 6,038 — were operationally deployable.

In the 12 months to the end of March, there were 18,398 firearms operations but only 10 incidents in which police intentionally discharged firearms.

The stoppage came after the appearance in court last week of a Met firearms officer, named only as NX121, charged with the murder of Chris Kaba, 24, in September 2022.

Kaba died hours after he was struck by a single gunshot fired into the vehicle he was driving in the Streatham area of south London.

The protesting officers voiced concern about how the decision to charge would affect how they carry out their role.

(AFP)

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