The Met firearms officer who shot dead an armed gangster in 2015 will face a gross misconduct hearing, the police watchdog has confirmed.
On Thursday, the Telegraph revealed that the officer, known only as W80, was to face a disciplinary hearing and could be fired over the 2015 shooting of Jermaine Baker.
In an announcement on Friday morning, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed it was pressing ahead with serious misconduct proceedings and is recommending they be carried out by an external police force rather than the Met.
The decision to subject W80 to serious misconduct proceedings comes after a lengthy legal battle and comes despite prosecutors discovering he had no criminal case to answer.
IOPC Acting Director General Tom Whiting said: “This case has gone through protracted legal proceedings which have been extremely challenging for everyone involved, particularly W80 himself and Jermaine’s family.
“Following the Supreme Court ruling, we carefully reviewed our original decision. We consider evidence from the public inquiry, invite additional representations from all parties and seek additional independent assurances.
“We have now confirmed our original decision that W80 should face a gross misconduct hearing. It is not a decision we made lightly, but we believe it was the right decision in 2015 and remains so following the Supreme Court’s clear ruling in July.
“It is important to emphasize that the IOPC does not decide whether or not W80’s actions constituted serious misconduct; that is the role of the hearing panel who will make a decision after considering all the evidence.”
Following the announcement, Deputy Commissioner Lynne Owens said the Met would now review the IOPC’s decision before considering what steps to take next.
He said the force would also seek legal advice on the recommendation that an external force should conduct any misconduct hearing.
She said: “Today’s announcement follows protracted legal proceedings which we know have had a significant personal impact on the family of Mr Baker, the officer, his family and his colleagues.
“A public inquiry, concluded in July 2022, determined that Mr. Baker was lawfully murdered. We disagree with the IOPC’s decision to order that we hold a gross misconduct hearing for W80 and have written in detail to the IOPC inviting it to review and reconsider its direction. We wrote to the IOPC over a year ago and today we have been informed of his decision.
“The IOPC has told us that the order to commence proceedings stands and we must hold a misconduct hearing. We will review the IOPC’s decision and reasons and consider our next steps.
“We note that the IOPC has asked the MPS to consider asking another force to hold the hearing to provide additional assurances about the independence of the process.
“We do not accept that our broader call for support and legal protection for armed officers impacts our independence or the impartiality of the misconduct hearing process.
“We will seek legal advice in light of the IOPC application.
“Last week, the Commissioner wrote an open letter to the Home Secretary calling for reforms aimed at simplifying and speeding up the process by which officers are held to account, particularly when they use force in the exercise of their duties.
“We welcome the announcement of a review by the Home Office which we hope will provide much-needed clarity on the legal powers of armed officers and the threshold for investigating police use of force.
“We will engage fully in the review with a view to avoiding the type of delay seen in this case, achieving greater clarity and providing better protection to the public.
“Our firearms officers do an incredibly difficult job in some of the most challenging and often dangerous circumstances. It is right and they expect and accept that their actions are open to independent scrutiny, but officers need sufficient legal protection to allow them to do their job and keep the public safe, confident that it will be applied consistently and without fear or favor. ”.