TIME TO GO SIR IAN
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
02 Nov 07. BATTLESPACE welcomes the decision by the Court to find the Metropolitan Police guilty over the dreadful shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and agrees wholeheartedly that Sir Ian Blair should resign with immediate effect.
This is not the first time that the Metropolitan Police have killed an innocent person by wading into a situation without doing their homework, our readers will remember the man carrying a table leg two years ago who was gunned down in the street. As a Londoner, reading the description of an innocent Brazilian electrician being murdered on a tube train because he had his hands in front of his trousers and was twitching following a night on cocaine, fills me with horror. As John Humphreys rightly said today that would put a great deal of the population of London at risk!
The fact of the matter is that this murder was caused by two factors, one, the Police, once again, did not do their homework in identifying the ‘terrorist’ and two there was a breakdown in communications between the team shadowing the ‘terrorist’ and the gun squad. For Ken Livingstone to blame the failure of radios to communicate underground is a lame excuse in its entirety. What is required is a complete overview of Police Firearm Teams training procedures otherwise there is little doubt that this will happen again.
The BBC reported that he jury said police chief Cressida Dick, who led the operation, bore “no personal culpability”. The Met faces a potentially unlimited fine over the botched operation. The unprecedented, highly controversial trial came after prosecutors said that no individual officer could be held responsible for the electrician’s death.
Instead, they said the force, represented by the Met Commissioner’s Office, should be tried for failing to protect the public from the risks posed by a suspected suicide bomber on the loose. The Met vehemently denied the allegation during the trial, saying that there was no case for it to answer.
But Clare Montgomery QC, prosecuting, told the jury that Scotland Yard commanders had made a string of errors on 22 July that culminated in an unwarranted risk to the public and ultimately the death of Mr de Menezes.
Health and safety
Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, had warned before the trial began that a guilty verdict would have profound effects on policing. He said officers would be left in a difficult position of not being able to use their judgement in emergency situations, out of fear of breaking the law.
Having described the other events above, I am sure our readers would welcome this news that officers will not use their own judgement! Londoners can now travel on the tube without fear of being bumped off for having a hangover of their door broken down after reports from vindictive neighbours, relatives and doctors.
But during his summing up, Mr Justice Henriques told the jury they needed to focus on the key events of the day.
“It was not appropriate to say this case may have an influence on the way police throughout the country may carry out their work in the future,” he told the jury.
“Your concern is the past and what happened on July 22, nothing more, nothing less.”
Failures The operation began when detectives investigating the failed suicide bombings of the previous day linked one of the suspects, Hussain Osman, to a block of flats in south London.
Mr de Menezes also lived in the block, and when he left home at 0930 BST, surveillance officers were unsure if he was their target. Ms Montgomery told the court the situation had worsened because senior officers failed to keep to their own agreed plan, while firearms teams were both poorly briefed and in the wrong locations. This meant that it became impossible to effectively stop the suspected suicide bomber before