Keyham inquest: Police 'distracted' by G7 Summit before mass shooting, inquest told

Senior officers in Devon and Cornwall Police's gun licensing department were "completely distracted" by the G7 summit, an inquest has heard.

The global summit took place in Carbis Bay in Cornwall in June 2021, just weeks before Jake Davison shot and killed five people in Keyham.

The conference was described as the biggest security operation the force had ever undertaken, with thousands of specially-trained extra officers drafted in from across the UK

Superintendent Cara Sherwood, who was in charge of overseeing the force's firearms unit, told jurors her unit was "fundamentally under-staffed" at the time.

Supt Sherwood said: "We went through the organisational process to get more staff and we were not successful.

"Policing is very much about fighting the fire at the time. I was frustrated, because of the demands elsewhere in the organisation.

"My Superintendent went off to plan the G7, was distracted completely, and was not replaced."

Supt Sherwood said this meant the chain of command in the department "effectively disappeared".

Supt Sherwood was then asked about whether concerns for the safety of world leaders were more important than effective firearms licensing.

She replied that "it certainly wasn't the case for me" and denied that decisions were "rushed or downgraded" as a result of staff shortages.

Supt Sherwood added that since the Plymouth tragedy, the number of staff in the firearms department has doubled.

Supt Sherwood said she was unwell and absent from work at the time of the shootings, and agreed that the department was "stretched too thin".

The inquest continues.