London: police officers lay down their weapons after an indictment, the military provides reinforcement

The British army is ready to intervene on Sunday to replace if necessary the London police, many of whose officers have given up their weapons after the indictment of murder of one of their own

London: police officers lay down their weapons after an indictment, the military provides reinforcement

The British army is ready to intervene on Sunday to replace if necessary the London police, many of whose officers have given up their weapons after the indictment of murder of one of their own.

This highly unusual, even unprecedented, movement comes a few days after the presentation in court of a police officer prosecuted for the death of Chris Kaba, a young black man aged 24, killed by a bullet in the head a year ago during a 'an intervention.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman expressed her “full support” for armed officers who “risk their lives to keep us safe”.

These police officers, who "must make decisions in a fraction of a second under extraordinary pressure" must not "fear finding themselves in the box (of the accused, editor's note) for having fulfilled their duty", she added.

Scotland Yard has requested the army's counter-terrorism support if there is a shortage of armed officers.

“This is an emergency solution which would only be used in special circumstances and where an appropriate policing response would not be available,” a Scotland Yard spokesperson said.

The Ministry of Defense for its part indicated that it had agreed to provide the Home Office with this support “if necessary”.

A police officer, whose identity has not been revealed for legal reasons, was charged with murder and then brought to court on Thursday for the death of Chris Kaba, which gave rise to demonstrations and reignited the debate on racism within the police.

The young man was shot on September 5 through the windshield of the car he was driving, whose registration matched that of a vehicle linked to a firearms incident in the previous days . He died a few hours later in hospital.

Suspended, the police officer was placed under judicial supervision.

Most of London's 34,000 police officers are unarmed. Of those who are, "many are concerned" about the potential consequences of these prosecutions, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said.

“They are concerned” that they “mark a change in the way in which the decisions they make in the most difficult circumstances will be judged,” he added.

“A certain number of officers” have decided to give up their armed police authorization “while they consider their position,” continued the London police spokesperson, specifying that this “number has increased in recent years.” hours".

According to the BBC, there are more than 100 of them.

Faced with the scale of the movement, armed officers from the surrounding police were mobilized to patrol London on Saturday evening, according to the British news agency PA.

London police have a "significant capacity" of armed officers, deployed across the British capital and in places such as Parliament, diplomatic premises, airports, said the London police spokesperson. “Our priority is public safety,” he added.

On Saturday, London Police Chief Mark Rowley said he had met with 70 armed officers and found their concern “understandable.”

In a United Kingdom where law enforcement strives to maintain an approach traditionally based on consensus with the population, the London police are going through a deep crisis of confidence, after a series of crimes committed by police officers, including the rape and murder of a 33-year-old woman in March 2021.

A major operation aimed at cleaning up the situation within the ranks of Scotland Yard resulted in the suspension or reassignment of 1,000 police officers.

24/09/2023 22:35:19 -       London (AFP) -       ©2023 AFP