Plea for balance in shooting probes

Hampshire Chronicle: The Mark Duggan shooting inspired the proposed reforms. The Mark Duggan shooting inspired the proposed reforms.

A proposed ban on firearms officers comparing notes with each other as they write up statements after a shooting could lead to a drop in armed police in the capital, a police chief has warned.

Commander Neil Basu, Scotland Yard's head of armed policing, told The Guardian plans drawn up by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to stop officers talking to each other in the aftermath of an incident would leave them feeling "criminalised".

Under the IPCC plans, which cover all forces in England and Wales, officers would be separated from each other where practical after serious incidents such as a shooting, use of a Taser stun gun or a death in custody.

The IPCC announced the proposals to stop the practice of conferring after the inquest into the shooting of Mark Duggan.

In a statement released after his interview with The Guardian, Mr Basu said: "IPCC proposals for changes to procedures following a fatal shooting could significantly impact upon the Met's response to gun crime in the capital.

"Firearms officers face unique pressures and it is of the utmost importance that the post-incident process is balanced and fair for all parties - including firearms officers.

"We remain deeply concerned that the proposals will see officers being treated as suspects, separated from colleagues and questioned at what is always a traumatic and stressful time.

"Rather than assist an investigation we believe these proposals will greatly hinder the evidence-gathering process and prevent the best evidence from being obtained.

"Armed officers place themselves in harm's way for the good of the public on a daily basis. They are highly-professional and dedicated individuals who deserve our support.

"We plan to respond robustly to the IPCC's proposals to ensure that any changes are fit for armed policing whilst maintaining the confidence of the public."

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