'Armed cops would rather face terrorists than gangsters', Met Police chief says

28 November 2023, 08:16

Met chief Sir Mark Rowley
Met chief Sir Mark Rowley. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Armed police would rather face well-trained terrorists than gangsters, Metropolitan Police chief Sir Mark Rowley has said.

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Sir Mark has called for reforms to the legal system in order to make proceedings for officers fairer after they have been involved in life and death situations.

“One thing that’s really startled me is I’ve had some of our firearms officers say to me they would rather end up ­confronting on the streets a well-trained terrorist than a gangster," the Met chief told The Sun.

"Because even though they would face far more personal danger with the terrorist, they believe they’d get a fair hearing in terms of the legal processes that follow."

The Met Police Chief Sir Mark Rowley joins Nick Ferrari on Friday for the latest edition of Call the Commissioner.

You can watch and listen live on Global Player, the official LBC app.

Met chief Sir Mark Rowley
Met chief Sir Mark Rowley. Picture: Getty

Figures show police have shot and killed six terrorists in London since 2017. No officers were arrested or subjected to lengthy investigations afterwards.

Meanwhile, armed police who have been involved in other forms of organised crime have been subject to intense scrutiny and arrest.

Sir Mark continued: "With a gangster, they feel that campaign groups can influence accountability in a way that leads to something that’s unbalanced and lasts forever."

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A number of armed police stepped back from their duties in September after a police officer was charged with murder.

Some officers expressed concern about the prospect of being charged for murder if they are faced with a difficult position.

The then Home Secretary Suella Braverman stepped in, expressing her support for cops who were on leave, and ordered a review into armed policing.

Armed police officers (stock image) handed in their weapons in protest in September
Armed police officers (stock image) handed in their weapons in protest in September. Picture: Alamy

Ms Braverman said at the time: "We depend on our brave firearms officers to protect us from the most dangerous and violent in society.

“In the interest of public safety they have to make split-second decisions under extraordinary pressures.

“They mustn’t fear ending up in the dock for carrying out their duties. Officers risking their lives to keep us safe have my full backing and I will do everything in my power to support them.

“That’s why I have launched a review to ensure they have the confidence to do their jobs while protecting us all.”

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