Two brave Metropolitan Police Officers who responded to the terrorist attack in Streatham have been left ‘dumbstruck’ after being informed that they are now under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for their actions while responding to the knife rampage.
In a move described as “astonishing“ by the Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF), the armed police officers could face their jobs being in jeopardy as the IOPC probes their immediate response to the rapidly unfolding incident as they navigated their emergency vehicles through London’s busy streets to assist colleagues who confronted armed terrorist Sudesh Amman.
As the officers travelled in convoy with flashing blue lights and two-tone sirens towards the chaotic and dangerous scene in South London on the afternoon of Sunday 2 February, an unmarked police car being driven by one of them was involved in a collision with another vehicle.
All involved in the accident – including the officer – were injured.
The other officer being investigated by the IOPC was behind the wheel of a second marked Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) which continued to the fast-moving incident in Streatham.
Immediately after the incident, Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute “to the speed and bravery of the police who responded and confronted the attacker”.
The two officers have now been placed on restricted duties (meaning that they cannot go out on patrol) since the IOPC served “papers” on them informing them of the investigation being conducted on them.
The Metropolitan Police Federation has warned that the investigation could take ‘months’ or ‘years’ to complete.
The move has outraged Metropolitan Police officers.
Ken Marsh, Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said:
“The public will be appalled when they hear that brave police officers responding to a terrorist attack can be treated in such a manner.
“What kind of message does this send?
These officers and their colleagues put their lives on the line that day to protect the public.
“Now potentially their careers are on the line. It’s absurd. A complete joke.
“Our colleagues did not know what danger they were travelling towards as the information emerged in real time about stabbings and threats of a suicide vest and explosives.
“Yet without hesitation, they drove towards that danger. Because that’s what police officers do.
“And yet now their careers are at risk as the hindsight brigade decide to justify their existence.
“These people need to understand the split-second and dynamic decisions police officers have to take.”
Ken called on the IOPC and its investigators to have some “empathy and understanding of the incredibly difficult and dangerous job police officers’ undertake”.
He added: “No one is saying that police officers should not be scrutinised or that their actions should not be accountable – but the last thing officers responding to a terrorist attack should be worrying about is whether their prompt response and bravery will put their livelihoods in danger.
“I am rarely astonished but this is truly astonishing.
“We are of course supporting our colleagues at this very difficult time and call on the IOPC to think again about what they are doing and what message their actions send to police officers.
“And importantly to the public we serve and protect.”
A spokesperson for the IOPC said:
“We are conducting an independent investigation into a road traffic incident involving a Metropolitan Police car which collided with two vehicles while responding to the terror attack in Streatham on Sunday 2nd February 2020.
“Two people received injuries.
“On Friday 28th February we served notices of investigation for dangerous driving and gross misconduct on the officer driving the vehicle involved in the collision and on the driver of a marked police vehicle which was in close proximity to the unmarked vehicle but not involved in the collision.
“A criminal investigation does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily follow.
“Misconduct notices do not imply guilt but are to inform the officer that their behaviour and conduct are under investigation and the level of severity.
“Such notices are not judgemental in any way.”