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UK police officer shot dead by suspect detained at custody centre

UK police officer shot dead by suspect detained at custody centre

FILE PHOTO: Police patrol in central London, Sep 24, 2020. British police officers remain routinely unarmed, and a survey in 2017 suggested most did not want to carry weapons regularly. (AFP/Tolga AKMEN)

LONDON: A British police officer has been shot dead by a man who was being detained at a custody centre in south London in the early hours of Friday (Sep 25).

Police said the incident occurred while a man was being detained at the Croydon Custody Centre at about 2.15am. The unnamed officer was treated at the scene and taken to hospital where he died.

A 23-year-old man was detained at the scene of the shooting and was taken to hospital having also suffered a gunshot wound. He is in a critical condition in hospital.

Officers did not open fire and the BBC said it was believed the man turned the gun on himself. A murder investigation is under way, police added.

"My deepest condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of the police officer who was killed in Croydon last night," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

"We owe a huge debt to those who risk their own lives to keep us safe."

London police chief Cressida Dick said it was a "truly shocking incident in which one of our colleagues has lost his life in the most tragic circumstances".

"We are in the early stages of the investigation and are still working to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident and we will provide further updates when we have them."

Britain's interior minister, Priti Patel, said she was shocked and saddened by the killing.

"This is a sad day for our country and another terrible reminder of how our police officers put themselves in danger each and every day to keep the rest of us safe," Patel said.

The shooting of officers is very rare in Britain where the vast majority of police remain routinely unarmed. A 2017 survey found just over a third wanted to carry weapons routinely, but 43 per cent did not.

The last officers to be shot dead while on duty were unarmed police constables Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, who were gunned down by a fugitive in 2012 after responding to a hoax call about a burglary in the northern English city of Manchester.  

Source: Reuters/kv

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