Sir Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, demanded greater legal protections for officers after an armed police revolt left the army set to replace them.
Soldiers are waiting for armed police after dozens of London officers resigned from firearms duties following a murder charge against one of their colleagues.
Sir Mark welcomed a review of the situation by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, telling her in a letter to “let the police control”.
Here is his full letter:
Dear Minister of the Interior,
I welcome your announcement today that you will launch a review into how police officers are held to account when force is used. You will know from our previous discussions that this is an area that I believe is long overdue for reform to address a number of imbalances.
In the UK we pride ourselves on controlling by consent, embracing the principles of accountability, transparency and independent scrutiny. It is essential that we have a system that inspires the confidence of officers and the communities they serve.
Of course, when unlawful acts are committed, the public expects us to meet the highest standards. I have been clear about this in all areas of policing, and use of force should be no exception.
The system that judges the actions of officials must be based on integrity and decisions must be made quickly, competently and without fear or favor.
A review is needed to address accountability mechanisms, including the policies and practices of the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Crown Prosecution Service, ideally focusing on the threshold for investigating use of force by police and their participation in persecutions.
Therefore, the revision announced today is a very positive development.
I have spoken publicly in recent weeks about the need to let the police control. Our commitment to delivering change at the Met is unwavering and we are making positive progress, but that progress is undermined by a system that is not set up to help officers succeed. I have identified persecutions and the use of force as areas where we see the most egregious injustice.
I do not comment on any ongoing matters that are sub judice, but the issues raised in this letter go back further.
Accountability is important, but we should not have allowed ourselves to develop a system where police officers are investigated for safely pursuing suspects, just because the suspect acts recklessly and hurts himself or another as a result. person.
This is unfair to our officers and deters them from pursuing criminals.
Armed officers know they need to justify their actions, especially when deadly force is used. They are very well trained and an intrinsic part of their training reinforces the fact that shots can only be fired if absolutely necessary to save lives.
Agents are individually responsible and accountable for their actions. Consequently, we have one of the safest armed police models in the world.
Sir Mark Rowley QPM
New Scotland Yard