Met to appoint armed police chief as Borough Commander

A senior police officer who has served in the unit at the centre of the Plebgate row and which was also involved in the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan that led to the 2011 London riots will be the next Borough Commander for Croydon, it was confirmed tonight.

CO19 is the Mets elite armed response unit, which Andy Tarrant has been working with since 2009

CO19 is the Mets elite armed response unit, which Andy Tarrant has been working with since 2009

Chief Superintendent Andy Tarrant has been selected by the Metropolitan Police to replace David Musker.

The appointment was confirmed during tonight’s Town Hall cabinet meeting by Mark Watson, the new Labour administration’s spokesman on “safety and justice”, who had a meeting with Tarrant earlier today.

Musker has been Croydon Borough Commander since late 2011, but is moving on following a promotion, and received a public vote of thanks from the Leader of the Council, Tony Newman, at the meeting.

Since 2009, Tarrant has been working in a senior position within CO19 with a specialist unit of armed officers who use motorbikes to track down and keep pace with suspected criminals on the capital’s busy roads. When this unit was announced five years ago, following pilots in Brixton and Haringey, Tarrant said, “This new unit sees a move towards a more proactive approach to deal with weapons and people linked to violence on our streets.”

It was armed CO19 officers who were on the scene in north London when Mark Duggan was killed, the shooting leading to the violent riots which spread across London, including Croydon, in which four other people also died as the police struggled to maintain law and order.

As well as being the Met’s armed response unit, CO19 also handles diplomatic protection, including officers on the gates at Downing Street, scene of the disputed events of Plebgate in September 2012 which led to the resignation as Chief Whip of Tory MP Andrew Mitchell. Tarrant has been in command of the diplomatic protection group throughout the last two years.

Because of CO19’s London-wide remit, Tarrant’s unit has been in the headlines in south London, too. Such as four years ago, when a teenager, Kieran White, was Tasered in front of other mourners in West Norwood by CO19 officers when attending the funeral of a friend. White’s friend, Wesley Sterling, had been the fatal victim of a stabbing at Croydon Arena in April 2010. Sterling was 16 years old when he died.

The Taser incident was subject to formal complaints to the IPCC, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, at which Tarrant gave evidence, saying that the devices were only used following a “dynamic threat assessment” when it was deemed there was a threat of a weapon. White was proved to have been unarmed.


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