The decision by 100 armed Police to lay down their weapons following the suspension of 2 colleagues is understandable and correct.
The suspended officers were deployed in response to a specific report in order to ensure public safety. Met procedure requires that any â€˜armedâ€™ suspect be given the opportunity to lay down any perceived weapon before officers take the difficult decision to discharge their weapons.
Officers on the scene have to make a spit second decision that, if wrong, can result in the death of an innocent member of the public or fellow officer. They do not make such decisions lightly, as was recently demonstrated when campaigners scaled Buckingham Palace. Every effort was made to understand the threat that officers were dealing with and to ensure that their response was proportionate.
In a time of heightened terrorist threat London needs to have adequate levels of armed police. However officers need to know that, when they act to protect the lives and safety of Londoners, they will enjoy the full and unqualified support of their line managers.
Met bosses need to rethink the levels of support they provide to men and woman who are routinely in harmâ€™s way and expected to take very serious decisions.