After firearms officers put down their weapons in protest over the charge of a comrade with murder, the Metropolitan Police Service (MET) called on the Special Air Service (SAS) to provide counter-terrorism services.
When 100 police officers began to revolt on Wednesday after one officer was charged with the murder of 24-year-old Chris Kaba, who was shot in the head in September, Suella Braverman demanded a review of armed policing to quell the rebellion.
Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley called for more protections for armed cops.
Several sources said there were worries the revolt may spread further within the Met and around the country due to the volume and speed of the protest by armed officers. As a result, the home secretary ordered an emergency review of armed policing.
The MET, which is responsible for policing most of London, had to borrow armed officers from other smaller agencies and ultimately turn to the military on Sunday.
Since many counter-terrorism firearms officers within the police force were unwilling to volunteer for armed duties, the Met requested that the SAS be placed on standby for use against terrorist suspects. There would be no armed patrols through the streets of London conducted by the military.
According to a representative for the Metropolitan Police Department, the Ministry of Defense has promised to assist the Met with counter-terrorism efforts if necessary.
Opposition politicians, legal figures, and civil rights activists have all opposed the Met’s participation. Harriet Harman, a member of Labour, has stated that no one should do or say anything that could compromise the criminal justice system’s integrity. Specific regulations are in place to guarantee that criminal proceedings are reported fairly and without bias. The police officer, codenamed NX121, won’t go on trial until next year.
On Sunday night, Sir Mark Rowley, commissioner of the Metropolitan officers Department, wrote a letter advocating for new regulations on how officers might use force. He suggested that the study ordered by the government look into how the Independent Office for Police Conduct pursued officers and how the Crown Prosecution Service considered criminal charges against them. He said that out of an average of 4,000 armed encounters yearly, officers in the Met only used their weapons twice.
Rowley’s staff knows that by speaking out, the commissioner could further alienate those who already feel the police are not accountable enough. Since the murder charge was announced on Wednesday, several soldiers have told their superiors they need time to decide whether or not to continue carrying a weapon or to discuss the decision with their families.
According to the Police Act of 1996, it is a crime to sow discord within the ranks.