Sadiq Khan steps up safety talks with Met Police after officer shot dead

25 September 2020, 11:58 | Updated: 25 September 2020, 12:07

By Ewan Somerville

London mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed he is in talks with the Metropolitan Police to improve safety after an officer was shot dead inside a south London station. 

The mayor told LBC he had "urgent" discussions with the force’s chief Cressida Dick on Friday morning following the “heartbreaking” death. 

The officer died in hospital after the gunman, who was being detained, opened fire at Croydon custody centre in south London around 2.15am.

A 23-year-old murder suspect is in a critical condition in hospital, Scotland Yard said. 

The unnamed officer died in hospital despite attempts by colleagues and paramedics to save his life. His family are being informed. 

Mr Khan told LBC him and Met senior figures are “concerned” by the rise in guns on London’s streets, adding: “We’re talking with the police about what more we can do urgently to make sure all our police are safe, particularly in custody areas as well.”

Read more: Police officer shot dead in custody

Read more: Police leaders pay tribute after death of colleague

He said the suspect was arrested over concern about gun violence. “I don’t want your listeners to think the police don;t take the issue of guns seriously, in fact that’s what led to this person being arrested in the first place,” he told James O’Brien.

Calling the shooting “heartbreaking”, he appealed for the public to “show our humanity by being generous to officers around us”. 

“It’s really important to appreciate [that] when we see a police officer today, just smile, say thank you, thank you for what you do, I’m really grateful,” he said. 

“That little thing can make such a difference to officers today who are feeling vulnerable and heartbroken.”

The officer joins a long list of colleagues killed in the line of duty, with the National Police Memorial roll of honour recording more than 1,600 officers who have died while performing vital tasks since 1680.

Among them was Pc Andrew Harper, who died when he was caught in a tow rope and dragged along country lanes after trying to stop quad bike thieves in Berkshire in August 2019.

His three teenage killers were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter after an Old Bailey trial.

As police figures from across the country paid tribute, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “This is a truly shocking incident in which one of our colleagues has lost his life in the most tragic circumstances. 

“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.

“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.”