Home Secretary Suella Braverman faces storm over Chris Kaba shooting comments

Home Secretary Suella Braverman faces storm over Chris Kaba shooting comments

The Home Secretary faced a growing storm on Tuesday over her comments about the Chris Kaba case.

Suella Braverman made a series of tweets after a Metropolitan Police officer was charged with the murder of Mr Kaba.

“We depend on our brave firearms officers to protect us from the most dangerous and violent in society. In the interest of public safety they have to make split-second decisions under extraordinary pressures,” she said in a reply to a Telegraph story which had an image of a “Justice for Chris Kaba” banner.

She also ordered a review of armed policing after a large number of Met officers stepped back from firearms duties in the wake of the murder charge.

But Sir Bob Neill, Tory chairman of the Commons justice committee, told the Standard: “Of course there are legitimate broader political issues that may arise from individual cases.

“But you have to be extremely careful of making any linkage between those and individual cases. That is what the rules of contempt of court are about.”

Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley responded to the Home Secretary’s comments, welcoming the review and suggesting increased legal protections for officers.

Mr Kaba, 24, was killed in September last year in Streatham Hill, south London.

The officer accused of his murder is named only as NX121 after a district judge granted an anonymity order.

Former Justice Secretary Lord Falconer KC said: “These prosecutions of police officers in these circumstances are very rare. They should be left to take their course.

“People holding these responsible positions, the Home Secretary and Metropolitan Police Commissioner, should not interfere.”

More than 100 police officers were reported to have handed in their “tickets”, an accreditation to permit them to carry firearms while on the job, following the charge.

Policing minister Chris Philp defended Ms Braverman against growing criticism over her tweets.

“There was obviously an issue over the weekend with firearms officers in the Met withdrawing from duty, and I think it was reasonable to sort of offer them reassurance, that is part of the Home Secretary’s job,” he told Times Radio.

The Government drafted in reinforcements from the Army and other UK police forces to cover, but the minister said that enough officers had now returned to duty so that help was no longer required.

“We do not and cannot comment on live cases before the court,” Mr Philp added.

“What I can do is say that in general terms, the Government will support police officers who are doing their duty, protecting the public, taking enormous risks on our behalf.”

Lord Macdonald, Director of Public Prosecutions between 2003 and 2008, said the Home Secretary’s intervention “was a little unwise, frankly” and added: “She shouldn’t say or do anything which undermines decisions made by independent bodies.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said armed police need “clarity”.