Croydon: Police officer shot dead named as Matt Ratana, aged 54 | UK News

Croydon: Police officer shot dead named as Matt Ratana, aged 54 | UK News

The police officer who was shot dead in south London early on Friday morning has been named as Matt Ratana.

Mr Ratana, aged 54, who was a custody sergeant, was killed after being shot by a man who was already in custody.

The suspect – a 23-year-old man – then turned the gun on himself and was taken to hospital, where he is still in a critical condition. The incident took place at around 2.15am at Croydon custody centre.

Mr Ratana, a “talented” rugby player and coach, was “big in stature and big in heart”, Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick said on Friday.

Met officers carry flowers to place at the scene in south London
Met officers carry flowers to place at the scene

She told a press conference: “His colleagues knew him as a big guy. Big in stature, big in heart, friendly, capable, a lovely man, respected by his colleagues.

“He was very well known locally and he will be remembered so fondly in Croydon and missed there, as well as in the Met.”

He leaves behind a partner and an adult son from a previous relationship, she added.

Mr Ratana came to London from New Zealand in 1989 and joined the Met in 1991. He worked across London and was promoted to sergeant in 2010.

He was also a coach at East Grinstead Rugby Club and was described by a friend as “inspirational”, “larger than life” and a “machine”.

Matthew Ratana was a custody sergeant in Croydon
Matt Ratana was a custody sergeant in Croydon

His friend, Paul, told Sky News: “He helped out at the club a lot. We lost funding and he came in and helped us.

“He was inspirational – so vibrant, so bubbly, larger than life. He will be a huge loss to the club.

“The man was a machine. He was at training last night from 7 to 9pm. That’s the last time I saw him. He was due to retire soon and was looking forward to it.”

A murder investigation has been launched and the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), said a revolver was recovered from the scene.

The IOPC said the suspect was arrested on suspicion of possessing and intending to a supply ammunition, as well as possession of Class B drugs.

He is believed to have been in handcuffs inside the custody suite when the shots were fired.

Police line up in Croydon to pay respects to a colleague who was shot dead while on duty.

Police line up in Croydon to pay respects to a colleague who was shot dead while on duty.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “What we have established is that the man was arrested for possession of class B drugs with intent to supply and possession of ammunition.

“The man was handcuffed to the rear before being transported to Croydon custody suite in a police vehicle where he was escorted into the building.

“He remained handcuffed to the rear and seated in a holding area in the custody suite. His handcuffs remained in place while officers prepared to search him using a metal detector.

“It is at the point that shots were fired resulting in the fatal injuries to the officer and critical injuries to the man.

“A non-police issue firearm, which appears to be a revolver, has been recovered from the scene. Further ballistic work will be required.”

The Met commissioner said in an earlier statement: “The Met is a family. Policing is a family in London and across the United Kingdom.

A note on flowers outside Croydon Custody Centre in south London
A note on flowers left outside Croydon Custody Centre

“Today, we police are all mourning a great loss. I would like to thank our officers and the staff, together with colleagues from the London Ambulance Service, the London Air Ambulance and all our medical and hospital colleagues who I know did everything they could to save his life.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “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.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan earlier told Sky News: “That a police officer can be killed inside a police station is a source of huge concern.”

But he sought to reassure officers, their family members and the public that he and Commissioner Dick are doing “all they can” to ensure the safety of all members of the police force in light of Mr Ratana’s death.

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