UK police officer shot dead on duty, Scotland Yard investigates
>>LONDON: A British police officer was shot dead in the early hours of Friday morning, Scotland Yard said, the first officer to be killed by gunfire while on duty in over eight years.
Metropolitan Police launched a murder investigation following the shooting of Matt Ratana, 54, allegedly by a 23-year-old man being detained at Croydon Custody Centre in south London.
The suspect was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound and remains in a critical condition, the force said, but added that no police firearms were discharged during the incident.
Police did not say how the suspect was injured, though London’s Evening Standard newspaper reported that he shot himself.
British police are not routinely armed, although forces have tactical firearms units to respond quickly to incidents. Deaths in service are also rare.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his “deepest condolences” to the victim’s family, writing on Twitter that “we owe a huge debt to those who risk their own lives to keep us safe”.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick called it “a truly shocking incident”.
“My heart goes out to his family, direct colleagues and friends,” she said.
“When a colleague dies in the line of duty the shockwaves and sadness reverberates throughout the Met and our communities. We will all deeply mourn our colleague.”
Policing minister Kit Malthouse told parliament: “We ask our police officers to do an extraordinary job.
“The fact that one of them has fallen in the line of performing that duty is a tragedy for the entire nation.”
Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were the last British police officers to be shot dead in the line of duty, when they were ambushed in a gun and grenade attack in September 2012. They were killed by drug dealer Dale Cregan in Manchester, northwest England.