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25th Sep 2023

Army ‘on standby’ after police officers turn in guns following charge over Chris Kaba’s murder

More than 100 officers were said to have turned in their permits to carry weapons

The army could be called in to cover for the police after dozens of officers handed in their guns in the wake of an officer being charged with murder over the shooting of Chris Kaba.

An unnamed officer – identified as NX121 – was charged last Wednesday with murder over the shooting of 24-year-old Kana in Streatham Hill on 5 September 2022. Kaba, a construction worker who also rapped under the name, Madiz, or Mad Itch, had been stopped by the Met Police. It later emerged that the Audi Kaba was driving, which did not belong to him, had been linked to a firearms incident the previous day.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman offered police her “full backing” after the officer was charged, saying she would do “everything” in her power to support them as the public “depend on our brave firearms officers to protect us.” A Home Office review has been launched into armed policing.

Despite this, more than 100 officers have turned in permits allowing them to carry weapons, the BBC reported. There is more than 2,500 armed officers in the Met.

The move has led to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) offering soldiers to support armed police in London.

The MoD said it received a request – known as Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (Maca) – from the Home Office to “provide routine counter-terrorism contingency support to the Metropolitan Police, should it be needed”. A Maca is offered to police or the NHS in emergency situations – the military helped medical staff in the pandemic and covered for striking border staff and paramedics last year.

Around 2pm Monday, the Met said the army had been stood down and that extra officers had been called in from neighbouring police forces. The measures, the Met said, would be kept under review.

Met chief Sir Mark Rowley welcomed the Home Office review, saying it was right for the force to be “held to the highest standards”.

However, he added that the current system was undermining his officers, and suggested they needed more legal protections.

In a statement, the Met said some officers were “worried” about how the Crown Prosecution Service decision to bring a charge “impacts on them”.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, one former officer who left the Met’s specialist firearms command a few months ago, said the risks to officers is “just too great”.

He added that officers are not acting out of anger, rather concern: “These are individuals with partners and families who are incredibly committed to their profession. “They’re incredibly concerned it’s not worth it anymore.”

Speaking about the Macca, the Met said it was a “contingency option” that would only be used “in specific circumstances and where an appropriate policing response was not available”. Military staff would not be used in “routine policing.”

On Monday, the PM backed the home secretary’s review, adding that armed police need “clarity”.

Former Greater Manchester Police chief constable Sir Peter Fahy told the Today programme that any review would “not be wide enough”, adding he believed there are issues around morale and how police prevent organised crime.

Related links:

Police officer who shot dead Chris Kaba charged with murder

Inquiry launched into ‘systematic failures’ that led to Wayne Couzens working for Met Police