Home Officer Review Ordered as Armed Police Officers Consider: ‘Is it worth it?’

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Home Officer Review Ordered as Armed Police Officers Consider: ‘Is it worth it?’

A Home Office Review has been ordered by the Home Secretary due to the reaction by many armed police officers to the Crown Prosecution Service’s (‘CPS’) decision to charge a firearms officer with the murder of Chris Kaba following his death last year. The Ministry of Defence (‘MoD’) also confirmed that they received a request known as a ‘Military Aid to the Civil Authorities’ from the Home Office to provide routine contingency support to the Metropolitan Police.

The Incident

Kaba was driving an Audi Q8 in London on the evening of Monday 5th September 2022, with the car being linked to a firearms incident the previous day. An unmarked police car was following the vehicle until it was met by a police road block. Armed police officers approached the car on foot and witnesses reported that Kaba refused to exit the car and drove it into one of the police cars at the scene. One firearms officer fired a single shot through the windscreen that hit Kaba, who died later at hospital.


The incident was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (‘IOPC’) for an investigation and subsequently, the case was referred to the CPS. The CPS announced on 21st September 2023 that the firearms officer that fired the shot that killed Kaba would be charged with the offence of murder. The officer is currently referred to only as NX121 after the District Judge at the Magistrates Court hearing granted an interim anonymity order.

Response to the Charging Decision

Following this decision, armed police officers across the UK have been taking stock of their own positions, with over 300 officers believed to have handed back their ‘ticket’ that permits them to carry firearms. A Metropolitan Police statement reported that firearms officers were concerned that the charging decision made by the CPS “signals a shift in the way the decisions they take in the most challenging circumstances will be judged”.

Whilst all police officers carry out their day-to-day jobs at personal risk, it is without question that firearms officers put themselves in even greater danger when they are called out to only the most serious of circumstances. Firearms officers have always known that they will have to justify every shot they take, but it would appear they are considering if carrying out their job is worth the risk in the wake of the CPS’s recent decision.

Whilst some armed police officers have returned to duty and the MoD have scaled back their contingency support, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has confirmed that there is still significantly less armed police cover than normal in London. However, this number could reduce even further in due course, as Metropolitan Police firearms officers have confirmed that they are planning to down their guns en masse if the interim anonymity order is lifted and NX121’s identity is made public.

Talk to us

JMW specialise in assisting police officers at all ranks in both criminal and misconduct proceedings, and provide support to the Police Federation and officers during Post Incident Procedures. If you need to speak to one of our specialised solicitors regarding any of these matters, contact JMW Solicitors today. Call us on 0345 872 6666 or use our online enquiry form to request a call back at your convenience.

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Written by:

Andrew Gilligan is a Solicitor located in Manchester in our Business Crime & Regulation department.

View other posts by Andrew Gilligan

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