In an unprecedented move, a contingent of London police officers has refrained from firearms duties following the murder charge on a colleague over the death of 24-year-old Chris Kaba in September 2022. This incident has sparked a significant debate on the rules of engagement and the use of firearms by the police force.
The officer in question, whose identity is being withheld as per court orders, appeared in court last week. This marks a rare instance of a serving police officer being charged with murder in connection with a fatal shooting during the line of duty.
"Our colleagues are understandably upset and we have a duty of care towards them. Some officers have expressed a wish to step back from firearms duties and we are supporting them in this," said a spokesperson for London's Metropolitan Police.
However, the Metropolitan Police Service has assured that this will not affect the overall operational capacity of the force. They are making arrangements to ensure minimum disruption to duties and public safety.
|Year||Number of Firearms Officers||Incidents of Firearms Use|
|2022||6,820||20 (until September)|
The tragic incident involving Chris Kaba occurred during a police operation in September. The officer involved purportedly fired his weapon, leading to Kaba's death. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) conducted an investigation into the incident, which ultimately led to the officer's charge.
The case has brought the conduct of firearms officers to the forefront and many are calling for a review of the procedures and protocols in place.
"The event underscores the necessity for continuous scrutiny of our protocols and procedures," said Dr. Louise Westmarland, a professor of criminology at the Open University and an expert on police conduct. "While the police have a difficult task, it is crucial that the use of lethal force be subjected to the highest levels of transparency and accountability."
The case is currently sub judice, with the next hearing scheduled for later this year.