"Croydon shooting will send a shiver through officers and their families"- former police chief

25 September 2020, 15:15 | Updated: 25 September 2020, 15:26

By Fiona Jones

Former Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy comments on how the Croydon shooting tragedy will make police officers even more fearful of going on duty in these increasingly violent times.

A murder investigation is under way after an officer was shot dead at a police custody centre in south London.

Is is understood that the suspect being detained at Croydon custody centre shot the officer before turning the gun on himself just after 2am today.The suspect, 23, is in critical condition in hospital with a gunshot wound, police said.

Former Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Sir Peter Fahy now chairs charity Care of Police Survivors, which supports the families of police officers who have lost their lives on duty; he noted this attack was another fatal addition to the "big increase" in assaults on officers.

"The sheer shock of this killing in the circumstances, I think it will put a shiver through all police officers and their families," Sir Peter said, "we've got somebody here who was intent on killing a police officer, whether in the street or in the station it doesn't really matter...it just shows the degree of risk the police officers face."

Sir Peter reflected on the gun use in the US, both from police officers and perpetrators, and was thankful for the UK's "very strict gun laws" meaning gun crime this side of the pond is normally "extremely low."

"Why it's so particularly horrific and why it has such a huge impact on families...is because this officer is killed because they are wearing a uniform, because of the job that they do. Not because of who they are as an individual," he said.

The former chief told LBC that officers are experiencing increasing levels of violence against them, particularly during this "difficult" period in society with worldwide movements opposing some police forces.

Sir Peter continued that families are fearful when their loved ones go out on duty and this tragic event has further increased the worry that children, partners and friends have.

He pointed out that officers have to enter situations totally unarmed and without any knowledge what they are walking into and just accept this, extremely bravely, as their job.

Following the death of the police officer in south London, Commissioner Cressida Dick has issued the following statement:

“This morning we learnt of the shocking death of a much loved colleague, a long-serving sergeant in the Metropolitan Police who was working last night in our Croydon custody suite.

“I have visited and spoken to our officer’s partner together with other colleagues. We are giving her the best support we can.

“My heartfelt condolences go to her, their family, colleagues and wide circle of friends. I am thinking of everyone who has been involved and affected by this terrible event.

“We are all deeply shocked and saddened.

“The Met is a family. Policing is a family, within London and across the United Kingdom, and today we are all mourning a great loss.

“I would like to thank our officers and staff together with colleagues from London Ambulance Service, London’s Air Ambulance and all medical staff who I know did everything they could to save his life.

“A murder investigation is under way and officers are working at several crime scenes to secure evidence and to establish the exact circumstances of this incident.

“We are working closely with the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

“Early indications are that the suspect shot himself. This has not yet been established as fact. The man remains in a critical condition in hospital.

“I understand that there is considerable interest in the identity of the officer but we have not yet been able to inform all of his close family.

“The investigations will establish the full facts of what happened. I would ask you all to show restraint in speculating on what took place.

“This terrible incident underlines once again how police officers face danger every day in their work to protect the public.

“I will issue more information when I can later today.”