WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
July 13 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Proposed police reforms ‘a license to kill’, claims INQUEST

Proposed police reforms ‘a license to kill’, claims INQUEST

INQUEST has stated that proposed reforms to investigations of police misconduct amount to ‘a license to kill’, in response to comments made by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Home Secretary in the wake of murder charges for the officer who shot Chris Kaba.

The decision of the CPS to bring a murder charge against the officer responsible for the shooting has been met with protests by Metropolitan police firearms officers who surrendered their weapons. The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, called for a review of armed policing.

Met Commisioner Sir Mark Rowley welcomed the review’s potential to ‘address a number of imbalances’ in the way police officers are held to account for decisions to use force. They include a call to increase the standard of proof required to find unlawful killing in inquests and inquiries, along with increasing the threshold at which the Independent Office of Police Conduct could launch criminal or misconduct investigations.

In response, Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST, emphasises that ‘accountability for officers involved in wrongdoing and deaths is exceedingly rare’ even when there is ‘clear evidence of disproportionate, dangerous and unnecessary use of force’. She cautions that the proposed reforms would make ‘accountability for police use of force virtually impossible’ by allowing the police to ‘be judge, jury and executioner’ and effectively ‘giving a license to kill’.

Coles also drew attention to the Casey Review published in March this year, which ‘laid bare the uniquely toxic culture within the firearms unit in the Met,’ urging the Home Secretary and Met Police Commissioner to focus on addressing this as their priority.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court examined the threshold for assessing use of force in police misconduct hearings, in relation to the shooting of Jermaine Baker. The Court unanimously held that the civil standard was the appropriate one to apply.

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