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Met firearms officers ‘understandably anxious’ after force marksman charged with Chris Kaba murder | UK News

Firearms officers are “understandably anxious” after a force marksman was charged with the murder of Chris Kaba, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said.

Mr Kaba, 24, died in Streatham Hill, southeast London, in September last year after he was shot through an Audi car windscreen.

The officer accused of his murder, named only as NX121 after an anonymity order was granted by a district judge, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and the Old Bailey on Thursday.

Sir Mark Rowley said he has met with 70 firearms officers who operate all across London after the murder charge.

He said he understands “why many of them are reflecting on the potential price of such weighty responsibilities”.

The Met Commissioner also said officers were anxious “as they consider how others may assess their split-second decisions years after the event, with the luxury of as much time as they want to do this”.

Chris Kaba died in September last year

In a statement, Sir Mark said: “This week a Met firearms officer was charged with murder following the fatal shooting of Chris Kaba.

“I cannot talk about that case specifically as proceedings are very much active and I am mindful of the impact this is having on all those directly affected.

“On Thursday I met with 70 firearms officers to reflect on the events of this week.

“Like me, they understand the importance of transparency and accountability, and recognise the awful effect on everybody involved on the very rare occasions when lethal force is used by the police.

“That impact is exacerbated by the very slow speed that investigations, trials, inquests and hearings run at, meaning the lives of everyone affected are on hold for many years.”

Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley
Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley

Sir Mark continued: “They were understandably anxious as they consider how others may assess their split-second decisions years after the event, with the luxury of as much time as they want to do this, and the effect this can have on them and their families.

“As I continue my work today, our firearms officers are on patrol deployed on proactive crime and counter-terrorism operations as they are every day.

“They are not only prepared to confront the armed and dangerous to protect London’s communities but they do so recognising the uniquely intense and lengthy personal accountability they will face for their split-second operational decisions.

“Indeed, I understand why many of them are reflecting on the potential price of such weighty responsibilities.

“Bravery comes in many forms.

“When officers have the levels of uncertainty and worry I saw in my colleagues today, simply going in and doing their jobs not knowing what incidents are ahead of them is courageous.”

In the moments before the shooting, Mr Kaba had driven into Kirkstall Gardens and collided with a marked police car.

The officer fired one shot and hit Mr Kaba in the head.

Recorder of London Mark Lucraft KC told the marksman that a plea and trial preparation hearing will be listed for 1 December, with a possible trial date of 9 September next year.

NX121 was released on bail on the conditions that he lives at a named address, surrenders his passport and does not apply for international travel documents.

Met Police admits details of officers at risk of exposure after warrant card supplier was hacked | UK News

The Metropolitan Police is on high alert following a significant security breach that led to officers’ and staff’s details being hacked.

All 47,000 personnel have been notified about the potential exposure of their photographs, names, and ranks, The Sun newspaper reported.

The breach occurred when cybercriminals managed to infiltrate the IT systems of a contractor responsible for printing warrant cards and staff passes.

In response to the report, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told Sky News: “We have been made aware of unauthorised access to the IT system of a Met supplier.

“We are working with the company to understand if there has been any security breach relating to Metropolitan Police data.”

The company had access to names, ranks, photos, vetting levels and pay numbers for officers and staff, the Met said.

It added that the company “did not hold personal information such as addresses, phone numbers or financial details”.

More on Metropolitan Police

“Security measures have been taken by the MPS as a result of this report. The MPS has reported the matter to the National Crime Agency. The Information Commissioner’s Office is also aware,” the Met added.

The Sun also reported that the National Crime Agency had been called in amid fears terrorists or organised gangs could use the stolen data.

Met Police Service bosses also sent a message to their staff, urging them to “remain vigilant”.

It remains unclear whether the hackers demanded a ransom from the printing company or were attempting to target officers and staff.

The incident comes after a redacted version of a leaked document that listed the names of police officers in Northern Ireland was posted on a wall facing a Sinn Fein office in Belfast in a “sinister” attempt to intimidate one of its politicians.

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The document, which had mistakenly been shared online, included the names of around 10,000 officers and staff.

Ex-Met commander John O’Connor described the latest breach as “utterly outrageous”, adding: “Anyone using these details to produce a warrant card or pass could gain access to a police station or secure area.

“There is also a huge concern that photographs of police working on undercover units, surveillance or in sensitive areas like counter-terrorism could fall into the wrong hands.

“This data breach has put safety of police at risk and questions need to be asked about why IT security of this company was so slapdash.”

Police Scotland officers ‘fear being labelled a grass if they call out misogyny and sexism’ | UK News

Officers who raise concerns about misogyny and sexism at Police Scotland fear being labelled a grass and feel they have a “target” on their back, a new report has found.

It also said a “boys’ club culture” exists in parts of the service where “the real team meetings happen on the golf course”.

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) paper said colleagues often disguise or label sexist behaviour as “banter” and if someone challenges or calls it out, they are seen as not being able to take a take a joke and isolated from the team.

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‘Police Scotland is institutionally racist’

It comes after Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone last week admitted the force is “institutionally racist and discriminatory”.

The new report contained the results of an anonymous online survey, which received 528 responses and found that 81% agree sexism and misogyny is an issue in the force.

The research, carried out between August and October last year for the SPA People Committee, revealed 86% of female colleagues said they have either been subjected to and/or witnessed sexism and misogyny.

Respondents described “having a target on your back” when raising issues and grievances, being labelled a “troublemaker” and “red-marked” during their career.

Some expressed concerns about working conditions and a lack of support for flexible working plans and maternity and paternity leave.

Others described being overlooked for promotion due to maternity and told they had forfeited their policing career by having families.

The report said there have been particular improvements since the early 2000s but there are still areas that need improvement.

It said: “Colleagues need to feel safe to call out behaviours and feel supported when they do. Leadership must be inclusive, visible and accountable across the service to inspire positive change.”

It said the force must “cultivate visible change to ensure that a zero-tolerance approach to sexism and misogyny is the reality”, adding: “This plays an essential part in fostering confidence in colleagues that if they raise an issue, this will be addressed in appropriate and supportive ways.”

Women who have worked in the police have previously spoken out about their experiences, and former armed response officer Rhona Malone last year won almost £1m in compensation from the force after an employment tribunal ruled she was victimised while raising sexism concerns.

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Last week, Sir Iain said the force was “institutionally racist and discriminatory” but that the admission “absolutely does not mean” all officers and staff are racist, sexist or homophobic.

He went on to say there is “no place” in Police Scotland for people who harbour prejudices and that the behaviour of colleagues who have been found to hold such views is “utterly condemned”.

It came as a separate report found “instances of ongoing discrimination against minoritised communities, including first-hand accounts of racism, sexism and homophobia” by serving officers.

Commenting on the new report, Assistant Chief Constable Emma Bond, lead on the delivery of action to tackle sexism and misogyny, said: “Hearing these experiences has been difficult and, in some instances, shocking but absolutely necessary.”

She added: “However, people also told us they were seeing progress and change. Women leading at every level in policing, proactive steps to recruit more women and better support for flexible working.

“We are committed to building on this, to continue to listen, to change and become an inclusive, anti-discriminatory organisation that reflects, and influences, the communities we serve.”

Met Police defends officers after man tasered and dogs shot dead in front of witnesses | UK News

The Metropolitan Police has defended its officers after a suspect was tasered and two dogs were shot in front of shocked witnesses.

Footage on social media showed officers pursuing a man holding the two dogs on a lead along a canal in Limehouse, east London on Sunday.

The situation then appeared to become heated, with witnesses heard screaming, as the man was tasered to the ground and the animals were shot dead.

Officers had arrived at the scene after receiving a report of a woman being attacked by a dog.

In a statement, the force said: “Police were called just after 5pm on Sunday May 7 to a woman being attacked by a dog in Commercial Road, E14.

“Officers attended the location where the aggressive behaviour of two dogs was of considerable concern and posed a significant threat to them.

“A man was arrested in connection with the incident for having a dog dangerously out of control and assault offences. He has been taken into police custody.

More on Metropolitan Police

“A Taser was discharged by police.”

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The statement continued: “No person was taken to hospital.

“Both dogs were destroyed by police at the scene.

“This is never an easy decision for any officer to take, but police have a duty to act where necessary before any further injury is caused.

“The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards will review the circumstances of the incident.”

Police officers facing prosecution after leaking of death scene images | UK News

A police officer and former officer in Northern Ireland are facing prosecution, following the leaking of images from the scenes of sudden deaths.

The two will be prosecuted for alleged misconduct in public office, a decision announced by the region’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

It is understood that one of the officers has already been dismissed from the Police Service of Northern Ireland while the other has been suspended.

The prosecution is being launched by the PPS in response to evidence contained in an investigation file by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.

The Operation Warwick investigation examined a number of incidents, including the alleged sharing of images taken at the scenes of sudden deaths.

It has already resulted in a decision to prosecute one person for three counts of improper use of a public electronic communications network contrary to the Communications Act 2003.

Following the submission of a separate file by the PSNI, the individual is being prosecuted in connection with the alleged sharing of imagery captured at the scenes of sudden deaths.

That case is at the hearing stage.

Four families connected to the investigations after the death of a loved one are being kept informed, the PPS said.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “The criminal investigation is being carried out by the Police Ombudsman.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Six officers from Greater Manchester Police disciplined over ‘racist and ableist’ WhatsApp messages | UK News

Six police officers have had misconduct claims proven against them following a watchdog’s investigation into “racist and ableist” messages.

The “abhorrent” messages, which included references to the Islamic festival of Eid, were sent to a WhatsApp chat shared by a group of officers from Greater Manchester Police.

The group chat – named “The Dispensables” – also contained ableist comments about people with autism, according to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The messages were discovered as part of a separate inquiry into the supply of steroids by one of the group’s members.

IOPC regional director Catherine Bates described the messages as “inexcusable and abhorrent”.

“Messages sent via WhatsApp and on any form of social media cannot be a hiding place for officers with these types of views,” she said.

“Behaviour of this nature seriously undermines public confidence in policing. It is part of our role, and for police forces themselves, to ensure that it is rooted out and those responsible are held to account for their actions.

“The outcome sends a clear message that the use and failure to challenge offensive language is wholly unacceptable.”

Whatsapp logo is seen in this illustration taken, August 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

As part of the watchdog’s investigation into the messages, gross misconduct claims were proven against one officer, PC Rebekah Kelly, who has been dismissed from the force without notice.

Former PC Ashley Feest and PC Graham Atkinson admitted breaching the standards of behaviour, also at the level of gross misconduct.

A panel ruled that former PC Feest would have been dismissed without notice, had he not already resigned, while PC Atkinson was given a final written warning.

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PC Kelly and PC Feest had also been added to the police barred list, preventing them from serving as police officers, the IOPC said.

The investigation was launched during an inquiry into another officer, PC Aaron Jones, for supplying steroids. It was during that investigation that the messages were found.

PC Jones was sacked in December 2022 after a misconduct hearing found he had offered to supply steroids in January 2019.

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He had already been sentenced to a 12-month community order and 80 hours unpaid work in June 2022 after admitting two counts of offering to supply Class C drugs.

As part of the IOPC’s investigation into the WhatsApp messages, two other officers had misconduct meetings in August 2022.

One officer was found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to authority, respect and courtesy; conduct; equality and diversity; and challenging and reporting improper conduct and was given a written warning.

A sixth officer was found to have failed to challenge or report improper conduct and received management advice.

Sky News has contacted Greater Manchester Police for a comment.

Woman dies after being hit by police car in Liverpool – officers appeal for witnesses | UK News

A woman who died after being hit by a police car in Liverpool on Christmas Eve has been named as 22-year-old Rachael Louise Moore.

Merseyside Police said they were called to reports of a collision involving a pedestrian and a marked police car on Sheil Road in the city at about 8.10pm. Ms Moore was confirmed dead at the scene.

Paying tribute, her family released a statement saying: “Rachael Louise Moore aged 22, cherished daughter of Alison and Ian, sister to Ben and much loved granddaughter of Nana Sue. Partner to Jack and caring friend to many.

“She will be greatly missed by all those whose lives she touched. The family requests their privacy be respected at this devastating time.”

Police are urging witnesses or anyone with information to come forward. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is also investigating.

Detective Sergeant Kurt Timpson, from the force’s MATRIX serious collision investigation unit, said: “Following the death of Rachael we are providing assistance to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) who has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.

“Our sincere and thoughts and condolences are with Rachael’s family who have been left devastated by this tragic incident. Specially trained family liaison officers are supporting them at this time.

“I would like to appeal to anyone who witnessed this incident to please make contact with us as we try to piece together the circumstances. I would also like to ask anyone who has CCTV, dashcam or smart doorbell footage that may help us to please get in touch.

“As is standard procedure, the incident was referred to the IOPC. The family requests their privacy be respected at this time.”

Ms Moore’s death came a day after the death of a 53-year-old woman in Oldham, Greater Manchester, who was struck by a police car that had been engaged in a chase.

‘Thousands’ of corrupt officers may be in police after vetting failures, watchdog warns | UK News

Hundreds – if not thousands – of police officers who should have failed vetting checks may be serving in England and Wales, a watchdog has warned.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services looked at 11,277 police officers and staff across eight forces, examined 725 vetting files, considered 264 complaint and misconduct investigations, and interviewed 42 people.

They found cases where criminal behaviour was dismissed as a “one off”; applicants with links to “extensive criminality” in their families were hired as police officers; warnings a prospective officer could present a risk to the public were ignored; officers transferring between forces despite a history of complaints or allegations of misconduct; and basic blunders that led to the wrong vetting decisions.

The report found that some staff had criminal records, some were alleged to have committed serious crime, some had substantial undischarged debt, and some had relatives linked to organised crime.

Some 131 cases were identified where inspectors said vetting decisions were “questionable at best” – and in 68 of those, the inspectors disagreed with the decision to grant vetting clearance.

Matt Parr, Inspector of Constabulary, said: “It is too easy for the wrong people to both join and stay in the police.

“If the police are to rebuild public trust and protect their own female officers and staff, vetting must be much more rigorous and sexual misconduct taken more seriously.

“It seems reasonable for me to say that over the last three or four years, the number of people recruited over whom we would raise significant questions is certainly in the hundreds, if not low thousands… it’s not in the tens, it’s at least in the hundreds.”

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Mr Parr said that the pressure to meet the government’s target to hire 20,000 new officers by March next year “cannot be allowed to act as an excuse” for poor vetting.

“The marked decline in public trust for policing is undoubtedly linked to the prevalence of some of these dreadful incidents we’ve seen in recent years, and you should have a higher standard of who gets in and who stays in if you’re going to look to reduce those kinds of incidents,” he added.

The report was commissioned by Priti Patel when she was home secretary, following the murder of Sarah Everard.

Ms Everard was killed by serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens, who used his police warrant card under the guise of an arrest to kidnap her in March 2021.

33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard was murdered by former police officer Wayne Couzens
Sarah Everard

Female officers subject to ‘appalling behaviour by male colleagues’

The review did not look into the specifics of Couzens’ recruitment but its findings raise questions about whether improved security checks would have prevented him from getting a job with the Metropolitan Police.

The investigators also found an “alarming number” of female officers said they had been subject to “appalling behaviour by male colleagues”.

Among its 43 recommendations, HMICFRS said improvements were needed in the standards used for assessing and investigating misconduct allegations, as well as in the quality and consistency of vetting.

It also said that better guidance was needed on conduct in the workplace and definitions of misogynistic and predatory behaviour.

Home secretary ‘disappointed’

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said it was “disappointing that HMICFRS have found that, even in a small number of cases, forces are taking unnecessary risks with vetting”.

“I have been clear that culture and standards in the police need to change and the public’s trust in policing restored.

“Chief constables must learn these lessons and act on the findings of this report as a matter of urgency.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said: “Chief constables, supported by national bodies, will act on these recommendations and put the problems right because we cannot risk predatory or discriminatory individuals slipping through the net because of flawed processes and decision-making.

“The confidence of the public and our staff is dependent on us fixing these problems with urgency, fully and for the long term. Police chiefs are determined to do that.”

Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley says hundreds of officers should be sacked for misconduct and criminal behaviour | UK News

Scotland Yard’s commissioner wants to get rid of hundreds of officers and staff he says are guilty of crimes and unethical conduct.

A report has branded the Metropolitan Police’s internal misconduct system slow and ineffective and said too many repeat offenders were being allowed to keep their jobs.

One officer had faced 11 misconduct hearings over sexual harassment, assault, fraud and other allegations. Some cases were proved, others dismissed, but they were dealt with individually; he wasn’t fired and he’s still serving in the Met.

Sir Mark Rowley said: “We’ve been slacking a bit, removing less than one a week, maybe 40 or 50 a year. Based on this report, which clearly says that we have been far too soft, there must be hundreds in the organisation I need to get rid of.

“Some of them are unethical and don’t deserve to be a cop and don’t deserve to wear the uniform. And some of what they’re doing is in many cases criminal.”

The report found 1,263 staff were involved in two or more disciplinary cases, more than 500 were involved in three to five, and 41 were involved in six or more.

The commissioner said current police regulations meant it was difficult to sack some officers who he was forced to keep on. The Home Office promised to review the rules and hinted it could introduce new laws.

More on Metropolitan Police

The report’s author, Baroness Louise Casey, said the Met’s misconduct system was too slow, with cases taking an average 400 days to resolve. She also described it as racist and misogynist.

“The evidence around racial disparity in the Metropolitan Police’s misconduct system is so great, and so shocking, that even in 2021 81% of black staff and officers are more likely to be in the misconduct system than their white counterparts is truly awful,” she said.

“What I’m saying is the internal misconduct system is an example of what I would call institutional racism.”

Met Police review

She said a rule that allowed probationers to be sacked more easily was not being used fairly, with black officers 126% more likely than white recruits to be subject to what is known as Regulation 13. Asian officers were 123% more likely that white to be fired.

Dame Louise was asked earlier this year, by Sir Mark’s predecessor Dame Cressida Dick, to review the Met’s culture and standards of behaviour in the wake of a series of scandals: the murder, by a serving officer Wayne Couzens, of marketing executive Sarah Everard, the photographing of the bodies of two murdered sisters and the swapping of racist and misogynist text messages by officers at Charing Cross police station.

This interim report looked at the force’s misconduct system because it was considered the most urgent part of her brief.

She said that too many complaints from colleagues about other colleagues were being dismissed without action, leaving staff feeling that “nothing happens”. Accusations of sexual misbehaviour were less likely to be followed up than some others.

Sir Mark Rowley
Sir Mark Rowley

Dame Louise said in an official letter to Sir Mark: “The misconduct system is not delivering in a way that you, I, your officers or the public would expect it to.”

In his reply Sir Mark said: “The evidence is clear: the disproportionate way in which you have showed us black and Asian officers and staff have been treated shows patterns of unacceptable discrimination that clearly amount to systemic bias.

“The fact that allegations of racism or sexual misconduct and misogyny have less chance of being upheld is also completely unacceptable. Furthermore, it is clear that the Met’s systems and processes don’t support the right outcomes.

“You uncover painful experiences from those within our ranks who have suffered discrimination and hate from colleagues, only to have their hurt compounded by a weak response from the organisation. This cannot continue.

“I am sorry to those we have let down: both the public and our honest and dedicated officers. The public deserves a better Met, and so do our good people who strive every day to make a positive difference to Londoners.”

Dame Louise’s full review is expected to be published in the New Year.