Army Offers Help After Police in London Decline Armed Duty

Officers were reacting to murder charge filed in fatal stop last year
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2023 6:30 PM CDT
Army Offers Help After Police in London Decline Armed Duty
This is an undated file family photo issued by charity INQUEST of Chris Kaba, who was shot last September.   (INQUEST via AP, File)

London police declined the British army's offer of soldiers to help after more than 100 officers refused to take part in armed patrols over the weekend. The police action was a response to a colleague being charged last week with murder in the shooting death of Chris Kaba, an unarmed 24-year-old man, last September, CBS News reports. "There is a concern on the part of firearms officers that even if they stick to the tactics and training they have been given, they will face years of protracted legal proceedings which impact on their personal wellbeing and that of their family," London Police Commissioner Mark Rowley wrote in an open letter released Sunday.

Authorities have not identified the firearms officer who shot Kaba. It's rare for a murder charge to be filed against a UK police officer, per the Voice of America. It's also rare for police to discharge a weapon: 10 firearms operations conducted between March 2022 and March 2023 in England and Wales involved officers firing. Fewer than 10% of London officers carry a firearm, which is allowed only after intensive training. The BBC reported that more than 100 firearms officers put down their weapons over the weekend. Police officials told the Defense Ministry they now have enough officers willing to carry a weapon; the soldiers would have performed support roles.

Police said they stopped Kaba, a Black man, because there was an alert out on the car he was in. An officer standing in front of the car fired one shot through the windshield, hitting Kaba in the head. The unidentified officer was suspended and is out on bail ahead of a trial scheduled for next year, per the Washington Post. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday that police officers need clarity about the legal powers they have when on the job. (Read more London stories.)

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