Police chiefs pay tribute after officer shot dead

25 September 2020, 10:25 | Updated: 25 September 2020, 11:59

By Ewan Somerville

Police chiefs have paid emotional tributes to an officer shot dead inside a custody suite in south London. 

A murder investigation is underway after the 23-year-old suspect reportedly shot the officer before turning the gun on himself while being detained at Croydon Custody Centre

The officer was treated at the scene by officers and paramedics just after 2am but died in hospital, the Metropolitan Police said. His family are being informed. 

Leading the flood of tributes from across the police community, Met commissioner Cressida Dick called the shooting “truly shocking” and “most tragic”. 

She said in a statement: "My heart goes out to his family, direct colleagues and friends. We are currently supporting his family and also have a dedicated team providing support to the officers and those in the custody centre who witnessed the shooting. 

The officer was shot dead at Croydon custody centre (file picture)
The officer was shot dead at Croydon custody centre (file picture). Picture: Google

"When a colleague dies in the line of duty the shockwaves and sadness reverberates throughout the Met and our communities.

"Policing is a family, within London and nationally, and we will all deeply mourn our colleague.”

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: “The murder of a colleague on duty is utterly devastating news. Officers across London are in shock and sick to their stomachs at the nature of his death.

“All our thoughts - and that of all our members - are with his family, friends and close colleagues at this time. We and all members of the Police Family across the country are all utterly heartbroken at this news.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council tweeted: “There are no words to adequately describe this tragic and deeply upsetting event. Our sincere condolences go to the officer’s family, friends and wider @metpoliceuk colleagues. This is a sad day.”

Read more: Officer shot dead in Croydon custody

The Croydon branch of the Met Police tweeted: “Today we lost an honorable, brave and dedicated family member. Our hearts are with the officers immediate family at this time following this devastating loss.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent his “deepest condolences” to the family, friends and colleagues of a police officer who died after being shot in Croydon, adding: “We owe a huge debt to those who risk their own lives to keep us safe.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “deeply shocked and saddened”. 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: “Devastated by this news. My heart goes out to the family of this brave officer, who has paid the ultimate price for helping to keep Londoners safe.

“Tragic incidents like this are terrible reminders of the dangers our police officers face every single day.”

Stuart James, a Met Police officer, joined many policing figures in posting a black square picture with a blue line in a mark of respect, adding:: "This morning my team and I responded to the worst possible radio transmission from custody, words and scenes I shall never forget. The unimaginable happened to our police family.

"We have lost not only a good skipper but also a real gentleman. One of the best. RIP brother."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “Horrific to hear of a police officer being shot and killed in Croydon. Our police put themselves in harm’s way every day to keep us safe.

“All my thoughts are with the officer’s family, friends and colleagues.”

Steve Reed, Labour MP for Croydon North, said his thoughts were with the officer’s family and colleagues. “All of us in Croydon are in shock at this heartbreaking tragic news,” he added. 

Policing minister Kit Malthouse updated MPs about the officer’s death, adding: “May he rest in peace and may justice follow this heinous crime.”

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle added: “It is shocking news. This should never happen to the people that protect us and make us safe. All our thoughts and prayers go with the family and friends and the police community.”

Following the shooting, the suspect remains in a critical condition in hospital. No police firearms were discharged.