Anthony Long: Officer cleared after Azelle Rodney shooting attacks IPCC

Anthony Long Image copyright PA
Image caption Former police firearms officer Anthony Long denied murdering Azelle Rodney

An ex-Met firearms officer cleared of murder has said the police watchdog "seems to be treating officers as criminals".

Anthony Long faced trial last year, a decade after he shot suspected armed robber Azelle Rodney.

He expressed his concerns about the Independent Police Complaints Commission in a Radio Times interview.

An IPCC spokesman said it was "right that when there is a fatality there is an independent investigation".

Mr Long said scrutiny was expected, but said "the problem is the interpretation of the rules and the way in which officers were treated".

He added: "Today, the Independent Police Complaints Commission seems to be treating police officers as criminals.

"My former colleagues are saying 'we will stand by for a Paris-type attack, but when you want us to go out and do an intelligence-led operation against criminals you might need to satisfy us that the intelligence is perfect, or we're not going out'.

"I think we're quite close to that situation."

Image copyright Handout
Image caption Azelle Rodney was shot six times in 2005

The IPCC referred the Azelle Rodney case to the Crown Prosecution Service after a public inquiry in 2013 found there was "no lawful justification" for the shooting.

Mr Long, who will be featured on Secrets of a Police Marksman on Channel 4 on 18 August, said he was "absolutely confident" his actions in shooting Mr Rodney were correct.

The IPCC said: "Our independent scrutiny should not cause any officer to be concerned about taking on a firearms role."

Firearms figures

Image copyright Getty Images

The number of authorised police firearms officers (AFOs) has fallen for four years in a row, figures released last month revealed.

There were 5,639 AFOs across England and Wales as of 31 March - down by eight compared with the previous year.

It means the number has dwindled by more than 1,000 in the past five years.

At the time the figures were published, the government said they did not include an "uplift" in armed policing capability to be delivered over the next two years.

A drive to boost the police service's firearms capacity was launched in the wake of last November's Paris attacks, but rank-and-file leaders have questioned where the additional personnel will be drawn from.

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