Some UK police decline to carry out armed patrols after fellow officer was charged with murder
The Metropolitan Police said some officers "are concerned that it signals a shift in the way the decisions they take in the most challenging circumstances will be judged"
By Sarah Roebuck
LONDON — Some officers with London's police force have declined to carry out armed patrols after a fellow officer was charged with murder, the Washington Post reports.
On Wednesday, a member of the Metropolitan Police's firearms unit faced charges in connection with a September 2022 incident that resulted in the death of Chris Kaba.
Kaba was killed during an encounter when officers, operating in an unmarked vehicle, pursued the car he was driving. He was struck by a single bullet that went through the windshield while he was seated in his vehicle, according to police.
Compared to the United States, only a minimal percentage of British police officers are authorized to carry firearms. They need a specific license for this purpose and are only assigned to special circumstances, according to the Metropolitan Police website.
"All firearms officers are trained to assess intelligence and threat assessments. They are accountable for any ballistic rounds that they may discharge in order to minimize any risk to the public," the website states.
Out of more than 2,500 armed officers in the force, nearly 300 officers surrendered their permits to carry weapons, according to the BBC.
"A number of officers have taken the decision to step back from armed duties while they consider their position, but in the past 24 hours, some have returned," the Metropolitan Police said on Monday.
The Metropolitan Police said that some officers "are concerned that it signals a shift in the way the decisions they take in the most challenging circumstances will be judged."
Charging British police officers with murder or manslaughter for actions carried out while on duty is uncommon, the Associated Press reports.
In one of the rare instances in recent years, a police constable, Benjamin Monk, received an eight-year prison sentence in 2021 for the death of Dalian Atkinson, a former professional soccer player. While Monk was acquitted of murder, he was found guilty of manslaughter.