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Rowley demands increased protections for officers as AFOs hand in tickets

The call comes following a murder charge being issued for an officer over the shooting of Chris Kaba.

The Commissioner has called for reform of the way police officers are held to account – particularly when they use force in the course of their duties.

He said this area of law and regulation is "long overdue for reform to address a number of imbalances".

In an open letter he called for the policies and practices of the IOPC and the CPS to be addressed, with a focus on the threshold for investigating police use of force and involvement in pursuits.

It follows officers handing in their firearms tickets in the wake of a murder charge being issued over the shooting of Chris Kaba.

The Met has denied rumours that all firearms officers have stepped back from armed duties. 

The Home Secretary has called for a review into the situation to ensure armed officers have the “confidence to do their job”.

Within the review, Sir Mark has said the Met would welcome consideration of the following;

The Met has further said it would welcome the review considering the introduction of time limits for the IOPC and CPS, and improving the balance in communications following an incident – with a presumption of providing more contextual information about the incidents as part of the initial narrative.

The Army is on standby for armed police after more than 100 officers reportedly stood down from firearms duties over the weekend.

To deal with the police walkout, officers from neighbouring forces stepped up to help patrol the capital on Saturday night. 

The Commissioner met with 70 firearms officers last week and said there was “understandable” anxiety among officers.

A Met police spokesperson said that the Ministry of Defence has agreed to provide the Met with counter-terrorism support should it be needed.

The spokesperson added: “This is a contingency option that would only be used in specific circumstances and where an appropriate policing response was not available.

“Armed forces personnel will not be used in a routine policing capacity. We will keep the need for the support under constant review.”

The Met typically responds to around 4,000 armed incidents every year and officers discharge firearms on two or less occasions. This equates to 0.05 per cent of armed operations resulting in shots fired by police officers in London.

Sir Mark said: "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.

"While previous reviews have been announced, they have not delivered change.

“Carrying a firearm is voluntary. We rely on officers who are willing to put themselves at risk on a daily basis to protect the public from dangerous criminals including terrorists. Officers need sufficient legal protection to enable them to do their job and keep the public safe, and the confidence that it will be applied consistently and without fear or favour.”

The changes that the Met has called for have the support of the NPCC Chair, and the Chief Executive of the College.

The local Met Federation has said they are “pleased” to see the contents of the letter from Sir Mark.

In a statement the Fed said: “Police officers have no concerns at being held accountable for their actions but this oversight must be fair and balanced and take into account the training officers receive and the roles they are lawfully asked to carry out.

"Those forensically looking at the actions officers have to take in split seconds - with the benefit of hindsight - should also not take years to conclude their investigation.

"Colleagues should not fear for their liberty and livelihoods for simply doing the job the public expect of us. We look forward to playing a full part of any review.”

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