Firearms arrest as police investigate fatal shooting of Met sergeant Matt Ratana

27 September 2020, 06:48 | Updated: 27 September 2020, 19:29

Sgt Matiu Ratana, known as Matt, died after being shot at a police station in Croydon
Sgt Matiu Ratana, known as Matt, died after being shot at a police station in Croydon. Picture: PA

By Megan White

A man has been arrested on suspicion of supplying a firearm in connection with the murder of Metropolitan Police sergeant Matt Ratana.

The man, who has not been named, was arrested at 2am on Sunday in Norwich, Norfolk, and is currently in custody at a south London police station.

Meanwhile, the 23-year-old suspect for the shooting at Croydon Custody Centre remains in a critical condition in hospital.

He is said to have been handcuffed at the time of the shooting when he also shot himself, and has still not been spoken to by officers on Sunday due to his condition.

Investigators say they are now working with a "determination to find justice" for their fallen colleague, according to a top officer.

Read more: Croydon suspect 'in handcuffs' when police sergeant shot dead

Read more: Met Police Sergeant fatally shot in Croydon named as Matt Ratana

Sgt Ratana, 54, was originally from New Zealand and joined the force in 1991.

The officer, known as Matt to friends and colleagues, leaves behind a partner and a grown-up son.

Crystal Palace and Everton players observe a minute's silence to pay their respects to local police officer Sergeant Matt Ratana
Crystal Palace and Everton players observe a minute's silence to pay their respects to local police officer Sergeant Matt Ratana. Picture: PA

Multiple tributes have been paid including from Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

He had moved into custody work because he thought it was safer as he approached retirement, a friend, who described him as "a really genuinely nice guy", said.

A keen rugby player, he was head coach of East Grinstead Rugby Club, where he was viewed as an "inspiring and much-loved figure".

Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Stuart Cundy said Sgt Ratana's death had marked a "dark and sad day for the police family".

He added: "Everyone working on this investigation, from the forensic specialists to the local officers holding the cordons, does so with a heavy heart but a determination to find justice for our colleague and his family."

He said police are "painstakingly" searching four crime scenes in connection with the killing, including the custody suite where the incident unfolded at about 2.15am on Friday.

Forensic searches are also being carried out in an area of London Road, Pollards Hill, Norbury, where the suspect was initially arrested by officers for possession of ammunition and possession of class B drugs.

Other searchers are taking place at an address on Southbrook Road, also in Norbury, and at a second address on Park Road, Banstead in Surrey, where local police officers from Surrey Police are helping.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which attended the scene after the shooting, said the suspect had been taken into the building and sat in a holding area in the custody suite, then opened fire while still in handcuffs as officers prepared to search him with a metal detector.

He had earlier been arrested by regular officers following a stop and search, then handcuffed behind his back before being taken to the station in a police vehicle.

No police firearms were fired in the incident, and the case is not being treated as terror-related.

Deputy assistant commissioner Cundy, who is leading the investigation, said a gun had been recovered from where the shooting happened, and that CCTV and police body-worn footage is being reviewed and will be considered alongside accounts from officers.

Sgt Ratana is the eighth police officer in the UK to be shot dead in the last 20 years and the first to be murdered by a firearm in the line of duty since Pcs Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, in September 2012.

The Met sergeant is the 17th from the force to be killed by a firearm since the end of the Second World War, according to the National Police Memorial roll of honour.

Ex-policing minister Mike Penning said that poor attitudes towards officers started with politicians, who he accused of "hampering and undermining normal police officers".

On Sunday, the Prince of Wales will lead tributes to fallen police officers for National Police Memorial Day (NPMD), honouring those who have lost their lives on duty.

The annual remembrance service, which honours officers who have lost their lives on duty, will be held virtually for the first time in its 17-year history due to restrictions caused by coronavirus.