UK is 'exposed and unsafe': Warning issued as police officers gain support for laying down arms

police armed

A number of armed police are laying down their arms

PA (Stock Image)
Keith Bays

By Keith Bays

Published: 25/09/2023

- 13:33

Updated: 25/09/2023

- 14:22

Former head of counter-terrorism with City of London Police said officers were right to lay down their firearms

The UK will be left exposed and unsafe as a result of police officers being forced to lay down their arms, a former senior minister told GB News.

The decision of a large number of officers to step back from armed duties has gained support at the highest level.

But a warning has been issued that the move will put Britain and the British people at risk.

Speaking exclusively to GB News, Kevin Hurley, former head of counter-terrorism with City of London Police, said officers were right to lay down their firearms.

The veteran police leader, who also served as a Detective Chief Superintendent in the Metropolitan Police, said: "I can tell you now that I would be the first myself in the current circumstances to surrender my ticket to carry a firearm and I used to carry a firearm at one stage in my career.

“I am not at all surprised that the armed response officers are surrendering their licenses because carrying a firearm is a voluntary activity in the police, they turn up when officers are in trouble.”

A large number of Met police Counter Terrorism Firearms Officer have stepped back from armed duties, with the exception of five officers who are on annual leave.

WATCH NOW: Armed police lay down their guns

In a worsening crisis around armed policing, almost all Armed Response Vehicles in the Capital have also opted for a "period of reflection" and handed in their firearms authorisation tickets while senior Met police commanders are in crisis discussions to try to ensure the Capital has an adequate armed response to firearms incidents.

The crisis engulfing the Met follows a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to charge a Met firearms officer with murder last week, over the shooting death of an unarmed black man last year.

Chris Kaba, had been driving a car linked to gun crime in Streatham Hill, south London on 5 September last year, when the vehicle was stopped by armed officers.

In the operation to detain Mr Kaba, a firearms officer discharged his weapon and the 24-year-old was shot in the head.

The Home Secretary has stepped into the row, offering her support to firearms officers and launching an urgent review into armed policing.

Responding to Home Secretary Suella Braverman's review of armed policing, Hurley said: "It’s just words. Politicians have known for a long time about the challenges that police face in using force and that fact that a recent judgement from the Supreme Court has put police officers in very difficult position justifying the use of force.

"Does she [Braverman] think she’s going to get credibility back from the police given that their spending power has been cut by 25%, their pensions and training facilities have been slashed and they are overwhelmed.”

Mr Hurley, a former Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, added: "If she was serious she would have intervened after the recent Supreme Court judgement on the use of force by police which has put them in a very vulnerable situation.

“I welcome the idea she may do something but it’s meaningless.”

His comments were echoed by a former government minister, who told GB News: "This is an extremely serious and unprecedented situation.

"It's appalling and could have been avoided if the Home Secretary was respected by the police and if she had a credible relationship with them.

"Instead calling for a review, which will take time, is inadequate.

"It will leave the UK exposed and unsafe as a result of actions by a Government that spends all its time criticising our dedicated police officers."

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