Tributes paid as ‘much-loved’ Met Police officer shot dead is named

A Metropolitan Police officer fatally shot at a south London custody suite has been named as Matiu Ratana.

Mr Ratana, 54, died in hospital after the gunman, who was being detained, opened fire at Croydon Custody Centre in south London during the early hours of Friday.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said he was a long-serving and “much-loved” officer.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Ratana, also known as Matt, who is said to have joined the force nearly 30 years ago.

One friend said the officer was looking forward to retirement and told the PA news agency: “I think he earned his stripes, if you ask me.”

Police colleagues have also paid their respects to Mr Ratana.

Police officers
Police officers

Community police officer Jacqueline Kufuor told PA “Sgt Ratana was a lovely guy” and “the nicest man I have ever met”.

She said: “He was a very lovely man. He was such a nice man. When he sees you, he would just stand and talk to you.

“He would ask you about your job and how you’re coping and how you are doing out there. So when I ever had issues, I would just talk to him.”

Mr Ratana is thought to originally be from New Zealand, and some tributes to him feature a silver fern – seen on the country’s flag.

The officer was described as “an inspiration” by a friend who knew him from playing rugby together at East Grinstead Rugby Club, where he is also listed as a head coach.

The 27-year-old friend, who would only give his name as Paul, said: “We all looked to him – on the field or off the rugby field… losing that is big.

“The man was a machine. He went from training with us last night to come to his shift work here in Croydon. He would do that week in and week out.

“He bought into the whole family atmosphere that we had at the club.

“A few of my team-mates (on hearing about his death) are just not sure how to take it.”