British cops are ceding their right to carry a gun after a colleague was charged with murder.
A police spokesperson said a "number of officers" are now worried about using a gun on the job.
A London police officer was charged last week with murder for shooting Chris Kaba, who was unarmed.
Most British police do not carry a gun, and now even fewer are willing to do so after a London cop was this week hit with criminal charges for shooting an unarmed man on the job.
Chris Kaba, 24, was killed last September when a Metropolitan Police officer opened fire on his car, shooting him in the head. An official inquiry suggests the officer, charged Wednesday with murder, opened fire while standing in front of Kaba's vehicle, which had been "linked" to a firearms offense. Kaba, who is Black, was unarmed and police were traveling in an unmarked vehicle.
Now, some members of the Metropolitan Police Service are giving up their right to carry a firearm altogether, either to protest the charging decision or because they genuinely fear they could be prosecuted next. One source told the BBC that the number of officers handing back their permit to carry a gun is now about 100, prompting the British Home Secretary to order a review of armed policing practices in the UK.
London's police force employs more than 30,000 officers. About one in 10 carry a gun, according to the Associated Press.
A Metropolitan police spokesperson told Insider that the service "will not be providing specific numbers" when it comes to officers giving up their right to a gun. However, the spokesperson confirmed that a "number of officers" have done so and that the number "has increased over the past 48 hours."
The number of officers abandoning their arms has raised concerns about security. The Ministry of Defense said Sunday it had received a request to "provide routine counterterrorism contingency support" for London police, should it be necessary, The Guardian reported.
"We are in ongoing discussions with those officers to support them and to fully understand the genuinely held concerns that they have," the police spokesperson said, explicitly pointing to the decision to charge one officer with murder. "They are concerned that it signals a shift in the way the decisions they take in the most challenging circumstances will be judged."
The last Metropolitan police officer to face such serious criminal charges was David Carrick, who was sentenced this year to life in prison after pleading guilty to numerous instances of rape carried out while he was a cop. In 2021, another officer was convicted of raping and murdering a woman he kidnapped after using his police identification to force her into the back of his car.
A lengthy review of London policing, released earlier this year, found that the Metropolitan force is in need of systemic reform, decrying what it described as a culture of "institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia."
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