Thursday, November 01, 2007

UK - Metpol guilty for breaching health & safety

Jean Charles de Menezes lies dead in tube carriage No. 536-13

The Metropolitan Police have been found guilty of putting public at risk whilst carrying out the operation which culminated in the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes . The judge said, “This was a corporate failure and not an individual failure” and added that the incident was “An isolated breach brought on by extraordinary circumstances”. But he imposed a £175,000 fine and £385,000 in costs against the Metropolitan Police. Already the Liberal Democratic Party has called for the resignation of Sir Ian Blair, the police commissioner. “It is only right for someone to take the responsibility in the name of the organization as a whole” Nick Clegg MP, Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, told Sky News. The Conservative Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, added to the call for Sir Ian’s resignation saying his position was “untenable”. But Labour’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the Commissioner had her “full confidence and support”.
The news of the verdict was reported shortly after 14:00 GMT and set the news agenda for the rest of the day on rolling news channels. The Metropolitan repeated earlier statements saying they expressed the deepest regret over the shooting of Mr de Menezes.
Former flying squad officer, John O’Connor, told Sky News that the language used on the day was confusing and ambiguous. Cressida Dick who was on duty merely issued an order to “stop” the suspect. This left firearms officers with a decision to either to shoot to kill or to simply apprehend and arrest Mr de Menezes. After a confused surveillance operation, Jean Charles de Menezes was held down on a tube train at Stockwell station and shot 7 times in the head using hollow point bullets.
The shooting of the innocent man came a day after 4 failed suicide attacks on London’s transport system and a week after bombers killed 52 people in the so called 7/7 terror attacks.
Speaking to the press after the verdict Sir Ian Blair said the incident of 22nd July 2005 was a “Tragedy” in which an innocent man died. He said that the Metropolitan Police service had apologized many times to the Menezes family and had deep regrets over the death. Following the verdict of having been found guilty of breaching health and safety concerns he said, “What we will do now is to see if our operational practices need to be altered”. Asked who was at fault, Sir Ian said it had been “a race against time” to find 4 terror suspects and that “things happen”.

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