Scotland Yard is to rename a unit tackling violent gun crime because it sounds “too aggressive”.
Operation Viper, set up in 2016, will be rebranded as the Proactive Firearms Team.
Metropolitan Police bosses expressed concern that the association with venomous snakes portrayed the wrong image, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The Standard can reveal the force’s Scorpion team, catching moped watch and mobile robbery gangs, was renamed Venice Interceptors in January after members of a notorious US police squad of the same name were charged with the murder of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old black man in Memphis, Tennessee.
Susan Hall, leader of the City Hall Conservatives, said: “I assume they have got their reasons, but a mobile phone is stolen every six minutes, burglaries are not being solved. It is all a bit ridiculous and raises questions about priorities.”
A police spokesman said: “As part of a review of uniform proactive policing the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, Operation Viper team is being renamed to the Proactive Firearms Team.
“The name change better reflects the fact, the team focuses exclusively on firearms crime, predominantly by locating and removing firearms from the street of London.
“The officers in the unit are not armed, but do often work alongside colleagues from MO19 the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command.”