» Monday, July 25, 2005

Terror Shooting

Asked if the Prime Minister expected compensation to be paid to the family of the Brazilian man shot on Friday, the PMOS replied that it was a matter for further consideration and for the relevant authorities.

Asked for further information on Jack Straw’s meeting with the Brazilian Foreign Minister, the PMOS said the key thing was that the Foreign Secretary had spoken to Celso Amorim yesterday. This was a pre-planned visit, so it was not right to say it was an emergency meeting. As Jack Straw said yesterday, we deeply regretted what had happened and we had explained the context in which it occurred.

Asked for further information on where the Government was on the use of intercept evidence and also what it thought about the extension of detainees to three months, the PMOS said that as the Prime Minister outlined last week, he in principle was in favour of using intercept evidence. What he had to be guided by, however, were the views of the police and the security services. It was obviously a matter that needed to be discussed further with the leaders of the Opposition Parties tomorrow. With regards to other matters that may come up at the meeting tomorrow, some of them would be concerning legislation which the Home Office had discussed with their counterparts, whilst others were more medium and long-term and on which further thought would continue over the summer.

Asked if there was any further thought to recall Parliament over the summer, or would it be "business as usual", the PMOS replied that there was a balance to be struck between showing that these attacks would not change our way of life, whilst at the same time ensuring that everything was done that needed to be done to properly respond to them in security terms. That was what would guide us on a number of issues, and one of those was the issue of Parliament. There were no plans to recall Parliament at the moment, but we would be guided by not only the advice of the police and security services, but also by our desire to maintain a consensus, as we had done up to this point with the Opposition about how we progressed.

Asked for further clarification regarding the proposed detainee extension to three months, the PMOS said that it was an issue that would be thought about, and we needed to reflect on it. The issues raised at Thursday’s meeting would be considered over the summer, and the Opposition parties would be consulted about their views.

Put to the PMOS that if, as he had said, terrorism should not prevent our way of life, how should people relate to the shooting on Friday, the PMOS said he did not want to get drawn into a particular case which was being investigated by the IPCC as was proper. What we did have to appreciate was that deeply regrettably, we were in a different place in terms of the challenges that the police faced. These were, in our experience, unique circumstances, and what we therefore had to recognise was that those circumstances posed unique challenges, which had to then be decided by the police as to how they responded. The police had set out their reasoning. We had to evolve our thinking about how we dealt with those issues.

Asked if there were going to be Cabinet meetings over the summer, the PMOS said Ministers would meet when they needed to. There would be the usual contact between departments as and when was necessary. There was no set pattern, but rather whenever was needed.

Asked if the change in policy regarding the shoot-to-kill issue had been approved by with the Secretary of State or a Minister, or was it a purely operational decision made by the Met police, the PMOS advised the journalist contacted the Home Office in terms of the procedure. Our approach was that these were operational decisions. It did come down to a split second decision, and what the police believed to be the threat, not only to themselves, but also to the public in the surrounding area. That was what was unique about these circumstances.

Put to the PMOS that the meetings the Prime Minister was having later this week were all with countries who had suffered terrorist attacks recently, and was that the reason for meeting with them, the PMOS said that the unfortunate fact was that terrorism had struck many different countries and the terrorist threat was there. Therefore, each of these meetings was relevant to the subject, but that was not the initial reason of the meeting.

Put to the PMOS that a poll this morning showed that eighty five per cent of people thought that Iraq had contributed to the reason behind London bombs and although Jack Straw had "softened his line" on the issue, did the Prime Minister feel the same, the PMOS said he did not agree with the analysis posed. The PMOS said that last week, when he was asked the same question, he said we did not know what motivated the people who carried out the bombs. Equally, the Prime Minister had said that of course people would use Iraq as an excuse, but the key point was it was not the root cause of this kind of terrorism. Rather, the root cause stretched much further back, and John Howard spelt that out when he visited Downing Street last week. It was therefore the distinction between what was something that people used as an excuse, whether it was Afghanistan, or Iraq, versus something that was a root cause.

Asked whether the Prime Minister’s holiday would make Britain more or less likely to become a target, the PMOS said the question was a hypothetical one, and he was not going to get involved in it, nor was he going to discuss the Prime Minister’s holiday plans.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. The poor guy got shot. He must have been able to speak english or he surely couldn’t have done his (technical) job. IF they told him to stop the requisite number of times and followed the procedure laid down then the fault is his and the guy that killed him and then found he was innocent is the guy who should get compensation -and not the family back in Brazil – whether he is an illegal or legal immigrant is immaterial.
    Tone needs to be a little firmer here – aplogise fine but stay firm it is NOT the UK’s, or Police’s fault.
    We will see how things play out.

    Comment by roger — 26 Jul 2005 on 1:28 pm | Link
  2. As one who has considerable personal experience of Brixton, Stockwell and various other parts of the South London enclave, I take a different view. Had I been confronted and then chased by three individuals, at least one carrying a firearm and all in civilian clothes, possibly with funny ‘police’ hats notwithstanding, I too might have run for my life.

    It’s entirely a matter for conjecture, but if their quarry was already on the floor, and guns are ‘held down onto’ (according to at least one eyewitness) that person, and then discharged eight times, this is unlikely to be the official ‘procedure’. If however it is the official approach I suggest that the policy should be ‘reviewed’ before we kill a few more.

    It is much more likely that these gung-ho young officers, excited, flushed with the adrenaline of the chase, badly led, badly trained, and lacking in any form of real self-discipline simply ran amok with lethal effect. I’ve heard enough of these comments that these young men are at the front line and themselves in grave danger. Let me put it that they are in a rather stronger position than the average London Transport passenger or, indeed, what appears to be a terrified young Brazilian, whose first language is not English, and who started out that day presumably with the simple intention of going to work in a perfectly lawful way.

    This shooting has highlighted the escalation of grave incursions of the last few years upon our civil liberies and rights. The State and its officials have lost any sense of real duty to the populace. It it outrageous that such events can take place in a civilised society. I do not condone the actions of the bombers, who should be relentlessly hunted down and brought to justice, but it is the judicial system alone which should determine the outcomes.

    All this clumsy operation has done is to polarise our fragile society even further, and to lend aid and comfort to those who would wish to bring our society down. The police ‘service’ – and there’s a misnomer – should make grovelling apologies for its mistake, rather than grudgingly yield ground whilst seeking to excuse the disgusting incompetence of some of its most highly trained officers.

    Let us see what the IPCC manages to cobble together by way of explanation. But that investigation in itself will add further fuel to the fires. A major blow has been struck in the ‘war on terror’, unfortunately inflicted by our own people and upon us all.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 26 Jul 2005 on 9:52 pm | Link
  3. Own goal!

    Terrorist 3, UK 0

    Get a new coach.

    Comment by Bill Dyer — 27 Jul 2005 on 12:31 am | Link
  4. Since this policy was advised by the Israelis, we can guess that, had there been no eyewitnesses, this man would have died having been "caught in the cross-fire" between the cowboys and indians — I mean police and terrorists — as so many Palestinians children have been.

    Comment by Julian Todd — 27 Jul 2005 on 8:09 pm | Link
  5. Interesting to note that the successful operation to arrest of one of the prime suspects was apparently achieved with the use of a TASER weapon.

    Reports indicate that the individual was ‘wearing’ a rucksack and, if true, one might imagine that the officers involved were extremely worried.

    Despite this perceived danger, they apparently did not find it necessary to hold the suspect down and shoot him eight times.

    So, it’s clear that a known suspect suicide bomber can be captured alive and brought in for questioning by one police force without further bloodshed. Why is it not possible for other police forces to take action without ‘unfortunately’ killing innocent people?

    This is exactly what weapons such as the TASER are for. These weapons are commonly available to all police forces and are frequently deployed, if not used. The use of a Glock pistol and the policy of shooting to kill does not help to capture anyone or stop those of like mind.

    Of course, dead men tell no tales. In the case of the goings on at Stockwell, the officers involved – who are now on leave – may be grateful for such small mercies. But the spooks must be slightly put out by the elimination of potentially valuable source material, so maybe there will be some fairly intense ‘departmental liaison’ going on.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 28 Jul 2005 on 9:52 am | Link
  6. Be interesting to find out how much truth there is in the reports this morning that Jean Charles de Menezes in fact was NOT wearing a quilted jacket, and that he didn’t jump the barrier. Ok, this is from his cousin, we’d expect this up to a point. If, however, there IS any truth in in, there are going to be some interesting questions asked…

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 28 Jul 2005 on 10:08 am | Link
  7. Now Sir Ian Blair is reported as saying how dangerous it is to use TASERS against a suspect who is thought to be carrying bombs. Clearly other experienced police officers disagree.

    What knowledge does Ian Blair actually have of explosives and the likely effect of using a TASER in these circumstances? Have the manufacturers tested this – has anyone for that matter – or is this the usual defensive mode?

    This garbage is typical of the obfuscation and cover-up policy adopted by the Met throughout this episode.

    It’s also interesting to see so many armed police wandering our streets. So, the police have brought out their toys for us all to see.

    After Stockwell I shall make a point of avoiding any encounter with armed police personnel. Can anyone vouch for the standards of training and professionalism of all of these young men and women who are nonchalantly carrying this lethal hardware about on our streets, or are we going to see more ‘unfortunate’ incidents?

    The decision to send armed coppers out to parade in front of the public after recent events is both crass and deeply insulting to us all. We should be seeing far less of this and much more in the way of regular foot patrols by unarmed officers on beats where they become known to their communities (and vice versa). Mind you, I bet they’ll all go home completely exhausted by all this walking they’re having to do currently.

    Enough of this cruising about in cars. The only time I get to see a policeperson on foot in public these days is either after the event, or – having parked the panda up on the double yellows outside MacDonalds – making the lengthy and arduous traverse of the pavement to get his or her Big Mac and Large Fries. What a blessing the drive-thru has become to our public servants……

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 29 Jul 2005 on 6:15 pm | Link
  8. It appears that the Police Commissioner has been told he has to cling to this ridiculous hypothesis of "Shoot them dead before they press the button and blow up you", or the cover for what looks to all intents and purposes as an execution policy gets blown. No one can believe this James Bond scenario. It doesn’t work. These are home made mechanisms. The simple countermeasure of using a switch that triggers the bomb on release (if that’s how they do it) negates this measure completely.

    Comment by Julian Todd — 3 Aug 2005 on 1:40 pm | Link
  9. Judging from the current success rates for capture of suspects without bloodshed, it’s possible to arrest these individuals provided that the operations are managed properly.

    All of this highlights the discrepancies arising from the Stockwell shooting, and the ridiculous posturing of senior officers in an attempt to justify such heinous behaviour.

    It’s perfectly possible for anyone with half a brain to devise and build lethal explosive devices with any number of different triggering mechanisms. Even for those who may be ‘educationally disadvantaged’ there’s always the internet with step by step instructions given on many sites. Google will turn up thousands of them.

    Sir Ian’s comments about this incident are just the usual smoke and mirrors nonsense. Let us hope that the ‘enquiry’ is actually independent – anyone taking bets on this one?

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 3 Aug 2005 on 5:20 pm | Link

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