Despite being cleared, the police marksman who shot and killed a gangster faces dismissal

 A Metropolitan Police firearms officer, known as W80, is set to face a gross misconduct hearing over the death of 28-year-old Jermaine Baker in December 2015. W80 was not charged in connection with the death, but the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is set to announce that W80 will face a hearing that could result in him being sacked. This announcement is likely to further inflame tensions within the Metropolitan Police's firearms command, coming a week after another officer, NX121, was charged with murder for the shooting of Chris Kaba.

About 300 armed officers laid down their weapons at the weekend, and Sir Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, has admitted that London is currently less protected than normal. The military was put on standby to cover for counter-terrorism officers who were refusing to carry guns, and Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, announced a review into armed policing. The IOPC announcement relating to W80 could come as soon as Thursday.

One source within armed policing said that the timing of this announcement is unfortunate, as thousands of firearms officers across the country contemplate their future right now. They risk being charged with murder when things go wrong, and even if they are cleared by the courts, they could still be sacked for gross misconduct. The system is unfair and doesn't make any sense.

The Metropolitan Police disagreed with the decision and took the case to the Supreme Court to try to have it overturned. However, in July the Supreme Court rejected the appeal and sided with the IOPC. Following the walkout by firearms officers at the weekend, Mrs. Braverman announced a review into armed policing. Sir Mark also published an open letter calling for the subjective criminal law test for self-defence to be applied in misconduct cases.

The fact that the W80 case has still not been concluded almost eight years ago has caused grave concern, with Sir Mark appealing for the legal and disciplinary processes to be speeded up to provide more confidence for all concerned.


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