Kiwi police officer killed in London named as Matt Ratana

A 54-year-old New Zealand-born police officer killed at a London police station was reportedly giving his alleged attacker a COVID-19 test when he was shot.

Matiu (Matt) Ratana was shot at Croydon Custody Centre in the early hours of Friday morning (UK time) by a 23-year-old man. 

The suspect is hospitalised in a critical but stable condition after reportedly turning the gun on himself.

Newshub European correspondent Lloyd Burr says Ratana was reportedly giving the suspect a COVID-19 swab at the time of his death.

"Then [the suspect] pulled a gun and fired five shots - they were both rushed to hospital and that's where sadly Sgt Ratana died," Burr told Newshub. 

Burr says the tragic incident has "raised a lot of questions".

"How on Earth does someone manage to bring a firearm inside a police custody centre and discharge it while handcuffed - how does that happen?"

He says there will be a large-scale investigation into the circumstance of the shooting, which has shaken the Metropolitan Police "to its core".

"These are a tight-knit group of people and to lose one of their own, especially a larger-than-life character like Ratana is really hard for them."

Ratana had served the Metropolitan Police for almost 30 years and police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick described him as a "much-loved" officer with a "big heart".

"A lovely man, respected by his colleagues, officers, staff and of course by members of the public, including, I may say, suspects arrested or dealt with in custody," she is quoted as saying by The Guardian. 

Ratana studied town planning at Massey University in Palmerston North. He also attended high school in the same city.

As well as serving as a police officer, Ratana was the head coach for Grinstead Rugby FC. Burr said the club's flag is at half-mast.

Club president Andy Poole says Ratana was an inspiring figure, and his death is devastating. 

He is survived by his partner and an adult son.

Newshub has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for comment.