ARMED police could receive greater protection if they shoot terrorists and other suspects.
David Cameron has ordered a review amid concerns of officers who “shoot to kill” fear prosecution if they pull the trigger, according to senior Government sources.
The Prime Minister is reportedly prepared to change the law to reduce the prospect of officers facing lengthy court proceedings and to find ways to speed up investigations.
Senior figures including Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe have expressed concerns over how to protect Britain from a Paris-style attack – which saw 130 people lose their lives at the hands of brutal ISIS jihadis.
It comes the same week an officer was arrested and interviewed under caution as part of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) inquiry into the death of Jermaine Baker.
The 28-year-old, from Tottenham, north London, died from a single gunshot wound during an operation against an alleged attempt to spring two convicts from a prison van.
One senior insider said: “Terrorist incidents both at home and abroad have shown very clearly the life and death decisions police officers have to make in split second circumstances.
“We must make sure that when police take the ultimate decision to protect the safety of the public they do so with the full support of the law and the state – there can be no room for hesitation when lives are at risk.”
The review, which be reported privately to Mr Cameron in the new year, will be conducted by the Home Office, the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice.
It could lead to measures being included in the forthcoming Policing and Justice Bill.
But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – who has expressed reservations about having a “shoot to kill” policy outside of anti-terrorist operations – warned that community relations could be damaged and raised fears it was a “political stunt”.
He said: “We have to be very, very careful.
“If you want the public as a whole to have confidence in the police force and confidence they can co-operate with them in the future, any shooting on the street diminishes that confidence.
“There has to be a very robust and strong independent inquiry into what the police do. Like any other public organisation they must be held to account. I hope this is not a political stunt.”
In July, a top police marksman who shot suspected armed robber Azelle Rodney six times at short range walked free from court – after 10 years of controversy surrounding the killing.
One High Court judgment during those proceedings concluded that there was “considerable force in the expressed concern that minute dissection of fractions of a second with the benefit of hindsight will discourage an appropriate response, in real time, to threats thereby resulting in potentially increased danger to those involved in, or likely to be affected by, these exceedingly difficult operations.””