Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 October 2020

Man in handcuffs kills police officer while in custody

Sergeant Matiu Ratana, 54, was shot in the chest inside a police station in Croydon, south London

A police officer who was less than two years from retirement was killed in England on Friday by suspect in handcuffs who later shot himself in the neck with a hidden revolver.

Sergeant Matiu Ratana, 54, originally from New Zealand, was shot in the chest at about 2.15am at Croydon Custody Centre in south London.

He was taken to hospital but died.

Ratana, known as Matt, was the first officer to be killed by a suspect inside a police station. He had served in the force for almost 30 years.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “The suspect, a 23-year-old man, was arrested by regular patrolling local officers for possession of ammunition and possession of class B drugs with intent to supply in Pollards Hill, SW16, after a stop and search. He remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition.

“Our investigation is led by homicide investigators from the Specialist Crime Command. We are not treating it as a counterterrorism incident. We are doing all we can to establish a motive for the murder.”

No police firearms were discharged during the attack, Scotland Yard said.

Police said the shooting has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which will hold an investigation.

Commissioner Dick said investigators were examining several crime scenes.

“This is a truly shocking incident in which one of our colleagues has lost his life in the most tragic circumstances,” she said.

“When a colleague dies in the line of duty the shockwaves and sadness reverberates throughout the Met and our communities.”

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

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

Ratana is the first British police officer killed in the line of duty after Andrew Harper last year.

Harper was dragged to his death after becoming caught in a tow rope while responding to reports of a stolen quad bike.

Debbie Adam, Harper’s mother, said of the latest tragedy: “My feelings on hearing the news of this poor officer just stirs up the experience you will only know if you have been through it.

“I can identify with how this poor officer’s family, friends and colleagues will feel, the disbelief, shock and total loss.

“I just wish I could take that pain away.”

Home secretary Priti Patel said it is “a sad day for our country” when a police officer is killed in the line of duty.

She said: “I’m deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic killing of the officer in Croydon overnight.

“All our thoughts are with the officer’s family, friends and colleagues across the Metropolitan Police force, but also police officers across the country.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan added that the officer had “paid the ultimate price for helping keep Londoners safe”.

Police officers killed in the line of duty

Andrew Harper – 2019

Killed after responding to a quad bike theft in Berkshire

Keith Palmer – 2017

Stabbed to death outside parliament during the Westminster terrorist attack

David Phillips – 2015

Killed during a police pursuit in Merseyside after the suspect ran him over

Nicola Hughes – 2012

Died in a gun and grenade attack while investigating a hoax burglary in Manchester

Fiona Bone – 2012

Died in a gun and grenade attack while investigating a hoax burglary in Manchester

Ian Dibell – 2012

Shot and killed in Essex while intervening in a dispute near his home while off-duty

Updated: September 27, 2020 12:04 PM

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