07-18-2008, 01:07 PM
Direct Action Resistance Fighter
Joined: Aug 2006
Terrorism: Met 'has not learned' from Menezes death
Quote:Scotland Yard still does not know the cause of catastrophic errors made three years ago by its officers which led to the killing of an innocent man who was mistaken for a terrorist, an official report reveals today.
The Metropolitan Police Authority report on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station, south London, brands parts of the force's reaction to the disaster "disturbing" and others "complacent", and accuses the Met of being overly defensive.
The findings by the force's watchdog put added pressure on commissioner Sir Ian Blair because it says the Met has not learned or done enough since the death.
The MPA report focuses on changes made since July 22 2005, when Menezes was held down and repeatedly shot in the head by officers.
One recommendation will anger police - that the practice of officers writing up their notes together after a serious incident must end, and in the meantime all such meetings must be recorded.
Last year the Met was found guilty at a criminal trial of a string of errors that led to the shooting dead of Menezes. The biggest failing was that a firearms team which was supposed to stop suspects emerging from a south London block of flats that police thought was being used by a terrorist were in the wrong place for four hours.
The armed officers from the CO19 unit only got to Stockwell tube station after Menezes had entered, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission said that failing had contributed to the death.
The MPA report notes in exasperated terms that the Met still cannot explain the failing: "The evidence given in the trial offered some explanation of this failure to deploy CO19 ... but there remains a disturbing lack of clarity about the causes of this failure. We are surprised that this has yet to be resolved. We expect the coroner's inquest to examine this issue in depth."
Last night the Met said in a statement: "All the officers involved were doing their best to handle the terrible threat facing London on that day: a race against time to find the failed suicide bombers of the day before." It said it had implemented "a range of measures to minimise the risk of a similar tragedy repeating itself".
The report says the Met has reviewed how to get firearms officers in place more rapidly and increased their resources, but adds: "We were disappointed that the MPS [Met] did not appear to have made its own analysis and assessment of the deployment failure on July 22 2005.
"In our view the absence of a detailed analysis is unsatisfactory and does not reflect well on the MPS."
It finds officers involved are yet to be fully debriefed about the events and says legal constraints, due to the inquest to be held in September, may be partly to blame. But it lambasts senior officers it interviewed for accepting the lack of a full explanation from those under their command.
"We were presented with a paradox during our evidence sessions: on the one hand a recognition that undertaking a comprehensive debrief is important and that lessons need to be learnt, and on the other hand a complacent acceptance that, in this case, it has not happened and is unlikely to in the future.
"The scrutiny panel also wishes to emphasise that it is our perception that the MPS has a cultural predisposition to adopt an overly defensive stance when asked to explain how it is responding to criticism and challenge. It is our view that the MPS needs to counter this tendency energetically."
After the shooting, firearms officers wrote their accounts together, and presented their notes 36 hours after the shooting. The IPCC contrasted this with civilian witnesses who gave their accounts straight away and without consulting other witnesses. The MPA says officers did nothing wrong, but: "The practice of conferring ... is open to misinterpretation."
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