Hundreds of Met firearms officers have reportedly handed in their weapons in protest after a colleague was charged with murdering rapper Chris Kaba.
On Friday, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the force’s marksmen and women are “understandably anxious” since the officer, named only as NX121, appeared at the Old Bailey accused of the expectant father’s murder.
Scotland Yard told the Standard a number of officers have taken the decision to step back from armed duties while they consider their position, and this cohort has increased over the past 48 hours.
Police are concerned there is a shift in the way CPS prosecutors and the Independent Office for Police Conduct judge split-second decisions they make protecting Londoners from terrorists and armed criminals.
The Sun reports widespread action involving hundreds of MO10 officers has left the capital with a “skeleton” armed police capability.
It claimed the Met is planning to apply for armed police assistance from counties under mutual aid rules and could also appeal for help from the military.
Sir Mark met with 70 firearms officers who operate all across London at their Gravesend base after the murder charge, and understands “why many of them are reflecting on the potential price of such weighty responsibilities”.
In the moments before the shooting, Mr Kaba had driven into Kirkstall Gardens and collided with a marked police car.
The officer fired one shot and hit him in the head.
They have not been named publicly after an application for anonymity was granted in court.
Recorder of London Mark Lucraft KC told the marksman that a plea and trial preparation hearing will be listed for December 1, with a possible trial date of September 9 next year.
NX121 was released on bail on the conditions that he lives at a named address, surrenders his passport and does not apply for international travel documents.
Tony Long, a former Met firearms officer acquitted of murdering Azelle Rodney in 2005, told The Sun: “There is widespread concern among officers that NX121 will lose his anonymity.
“They also feel betrayed by a total lack of support from the senior management of Scotland Yard.
“Officers within MO19 do not believe they can be expected to fulfil their roles with no support from Scotland Yard.”
A Met spokesman said: “Senior officers, including the Commissioner, have been meeting with firearms officers in recent days as they reflect on the CPS decision to charge NX121 with murder.
“Many are worried about how the decision impacts on them, on their colleagues and on their families.
“They are concerned that it signals a shift in the way the decisions they take in the most challenging circumstances will be judged.
“A number of officers have taken the decision to step back from armed duties while they consider their position. That number has increased over the past 48 hours.
“We are in ongoing discussions with those officers to support them and to fully understand the genuinely held concerns that they have.
“The Met has a significant firearms capability and we continue to have armed officers deployed in communities across London as well as at other sites including Parliament, diplomatic premises, airports etc.
“Our priority is to keep the public safe. We are closely monitoring the situation and are exploring contingency options, should they be required.”