Met Police firearms officers turning in their weapons following Chris Kaba murder charge

Metropolitan Police firearms officers have been handing in their weapons after a force marksman was charged with the murder of Chris Kaba.

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

Earlier it was reported Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley met with 70 firearms officers who operate across London following the murder charge saying many of them were "understandably anxious" following the decision.

It has since been revealed a number of officers have "taken the decision to step back from armed duties" and that this number "has increased in the last 48 hours".

The force also said it was "exploring contingencies" to cope with a potential dearth of armed officers "should they be required".

A Met Police spokesperson said: "Senior officers, including the Commissioner, have been meeting with firearms officers in recent days as they reflect on the CPS decision to charge NX121 with murder.

"Many are worried about how the decision impacts on them, on their colleagues and on their families.

"They are concerned that it signals a shift in the way the decisions they take in the most challenging circumstances will be judged.

"A number of officers have taken the decision to step back from armed duties while they consider their position. That number has increased over the past 48 hours.

"We are in ongoing discussions with those officers to support them and to fully understand the genuinely held concerns that they have.

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"The Met has a significant firearms capability and we continue to have armed officers deployed in communities across London as well as at other sites including Parliament, diplomatic premises, airports etc."

'It is a difficult and fine line senior officers have to take'

Sky News policing commentator Graham Wettone said: "Officers on the frontline do not feel they have the support and backing of their senior leaders.

"Senior leaders are very quick to come out and make statements supporting families and loved ones, but the actual officers involved do not feel they are receiving support.

"It is a difficult and fine line senior officers have to take but there seems to be a lack of public support for the officers while investigations are ongoing.

"This has led to officers deciding they no longer want to, for example, drive police cars or carry weapons. Those skills are voluntary, they don't have to do them and now we are seeing some choose not to."

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.

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.

A plea and trial preparation hearing will be listed for December 1, with a possible trial date of September 9 next year.