De Menezes. Now we need to know the lessons the police have learned.

Some reflections on the de Menezes verdict which cut in both directions. Let’s begin by stressing the fact that dealing with suspected suicide bombers was new and terrifying. The Telegraph analysis of the chapter of disaster is as good as any. The fact of two different unconnected units, one for surveillance, the other a firearms team to deal directly with the suspect was likely to end in tears. Why didn’t the surveillance unit stop the suspect from getting on a bus, then a tube when a suicide bomber was likely to kill progressively more people?

What a tragedy that one surveillance officer went behind a bush to have a slash at the crucial moment, fatally breaking the chain of surveillance and ultimately, control.

On the Met versions at the inquest , how worrying that the hit squad stuck to the story that they shouted out a warning “Armed police” that nobody heard.

How can the “gold commander “ Cressida Dick conclude at the inquest:
“If you are asking me did we do anything wrong or unreasonable, then I don’t think we did.”

-People fasten on anomalies when they lack a convincing narrative.

Would shouting “armed police” have averted the tragedy?
How can Commander Dick say that nobody did anything wrong? Is she blaming communications that don’t work underground – ( even in the fictional Spooks where the comms are amazing, they don’t work underground.)

How was it that accident-prone Commissioner Sir Ian Blair was just about the only man on the force who didn’t appear to know that an innocent man had been shot? Was he set up for failure by his own cadres?

How ironic that Ken Livingstone, the old supporter of the war-time Sinn Fein sticks up for the police he got to know at close quarters.

The Independent’s editorial sums up sums up the deficiencies in the wider culture of police evasion.

…what the case reminds us of is the fact that the no police firearms officer has been convicted for shooting a member of the public in the past 15 years, despite some 30 fatalities, many of them in questionable circumstances. It reminds us that the police saw fit to introduce the Operation Kratos guidelines for dealing with suspected suicide bombers (shots to the head and no verbal warning) in secret. There was no public consultation or political consent. We found out about this radical change in operating procedure only when it had claimed its first innocent casualty in the form of Mr de Menezes.

If there is a next time, how will it be handled differently? No one has told us. The Independent Police Complaints Commission report must offer pointers. New procedures are already well overdue.

A final concern. More publicity has been given to the de Menezes killing than to the issues of 7/7 itself. For conscientious critics of the police and their ideological enemies alike, the de Menezes case was like shooting at an open goal. Dealing with the undertow that produced 7/7 is even more complex and difficult.

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Categories Uncategorised

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.