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Firearms officers back on duty according to Met

Enough officers have returned to armed duties that the force no longer requires external assistance.

The Met will no longer need to rely on military back-up to cover firearms officers who had stood down as enough have returned to their duties.

Around 100 officers had handed in their firearms ticket in the wake of a murder charge being issued against a colleague.

Former counter-terrorism DCS Nick Aldworth (former National Coordinator for Protect and Prepare Policing) has called it “quasi-industrial action”.

He said that unarmed officers face the same risk of being charged with a criminal offence following a death as armed officers.

“We are an unarmed police service, and therefore we will only ever have volunteers who wish to perform the roles of armed officers. Those come with enormous responsibility and potential risk, both physical and judicial,” Mr Aldworth said.

“The judicial risks are no different to that experienced by any other police officer. We have seen police officers charged with murder and manslaughter without using firearms.

“The problem I have with what’s going on is, those risks and the perceived weaknesses in the law are well known.

“So what is happening now is not people who are experiencing a sudden questioning of morally whether they want to carry a gun, or do they really feel that the law doesn’t support them, they are engaged in industrial protest.

“For good reason, the Police Act does not allow police officers to strike or undertake industrial action. But that is what this is, quasi-industrial action.”

He added that no concerted effort had been made to campaign for changes to the laws around armed officers over the past 20 years despite a previous prosecution following a shooting.

Mr Aldworth said there have been opportunities to mount a legitimate action to resolve ambiguities in the law, but that officers have chosen “this moment and en masse”.

“I’ve seen very little sustained activity from the Police Federation to actually work with government or anybody else to create the change in the law that is being described by Mark Rowley at the moment.”

Earlier the Prime Minister said armed police need clarity about the legal powers they have after Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley called for greater legal protection for officers.

The Met has said they are in ongoing discussions with officers to support them.

The force has confirmed that a limited number of armed officers from other forces will continue to support non-CT armed policing.

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