Soldiers could fill in for armed police after scores of Metropolitan Police officers stood down from firearms duties following a murder charge against one of their colleagues
Military personnel could be drafted in to cover for Metropolitan Police firearms officers after dozens are thought to have withdrawn from armed duty.
A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: “We have accepted a Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) request from the Home Office to provide routine counterterrorism contingency support to the Metropolitan Police, should it be needed.”
The army would only assist with specific tasks the police are unable to perform and would not perform any routine policing work, or have the power of arrest.
It comes after Suella Braverman ordered a review of armed policing after a large number of Met Police officers stepped back from firearms duties in the wake of a murder charge over Chris Kaba's death.
The home secretary said firearms officers have to make “split-second decisions” and “mustn’t fear ending up in the dock for carrying out their duties”.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley welcomed the review.
He suggested legal changes over the way self-defence is interpreted in police misconduct cases, the introduction of a criminal standard of proof for unlawful killing in inquests and inquiries and changes to the threshold at which the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) can launch an investigation.
Sir Mark suggested the review should look at the use of force and police involvement in pursuits.
He also called for time limits for IOPC and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) processes to “reduce the punitive impact” on officers facing lengthy investigations
Sir Mark also suggested more contextual information about incidents could be released “to ensure public confidence in policing”.
In a letter to the Home Secretary, he said: “There is a concern on the part of firearms officers that even if they stick to the tactics and training they have been given, they will face years of protracted legal proceedings which impact on their personal wellbeing and that of their family.
“While previous reviews have been announced, they have not delivered change.
“Carrying a firearm is voluntary. We rely on officers who are willing to put themselves at risk on a daily basis to protect the public from dangerous criminals including terrorists.
“Officers need sufficient legal protection to enable them to do their job and keep the public safe, and the confidence that it will be applied consistently and without fear or favour.
Mr Kaba, 24, was unarmed when he was shot and killed in south London last year.
A Met Police officer appeared in court on Thursday in relation to the fatal shooting as senior officers, including the Police Commissioner, have been meeting with firearms officers in recent days to reflect on the murder charge.
A Met Police spokesman said: “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 make 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.”
More than 100 police officers have handed in their tickets, an accreditation to permit them to carry firearms while on the job, according to the BBC.
The Met is supporting officers who have stepped back from firearms duties to help them “fully understand the genuinely held concerns that they have”, the spokesperson said.
“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.”
The spokesperson added: “Our priority is to keep the public safe. We are closely monitoring the situation and are exploring contingency options, should they be required.”
To deal with the police walkout, officers from neighbouring forces stepped up to help patrol the capital on Saturday night.
Mr Kaba, 24, died in Streatham Hill, south-east London, in September last year after he was shot through an Audi car windscreen.
The officer accused of his murder, named only as NX121 after a district judge granted an anonymity order, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and the Old Bailey on Thursday.
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