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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Is police anti-terror policy justified?

The Met Police Chief has insisted that the policy of "shoot-to-kill in order to protect" should continue.

Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, 27 was shot dead in error by police at Stockwell Tube station as part of the inquiry into attempted bomb attacks. He was later found not to be connected to the incidents.

Met Police Chief Sir Ian Blair has apologised to the family and warned that more innocent people might be killed in the fight against terrorism.

Do you think the shoot-to-kill in order to protect policy is justifiable at the present time?

We discussed these issues on our global phone-in programme, 'Talking Point' on Sunday 31 July. Watch the programme by selecting the "video" button above.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The bombers of 7 and 21 July were British and would've been waved right through at Heathrow or Waterloo
Alex Liang, London
This whole talk about stricter passport control at immigration points is utterly useless. The bombers of 7 and 21 July were British and would've been waved right through at Heathrow or Waterloo with no questions asked. On the other hand, even though I am a law abiding citizen who has been living and working legally in the UK for over 8 years now, I still get subjected to long interrogations just because of my passport (Singaporean). Scotland Yard and the Home Office have to stop fooling themselves that terrorists are foreigners who are entering our country to wreck havoc.
Alex Liang, London

Can you image the response of the public if this chap was a suicide bomber? Why didn't the police stop him?. If Mr Menezes had stopped when ordered to this event would not have made the local paper. The question is. Why did he continue to run? In the climate we are in, the police had no alternative but to stop him.
Neil, York

Unfortunately, instead of deterring the terrorists, this unfortunate incident will make the terrorists realize how totally incompetent the British intelligence service is. This will encourage them to engage in more terrorism safe in the knowledge that the intelligence services wont be able to make a positive ID.
Simon, Brighton

How can we ever condone 'shooting on suspicion'? You need some sort of proof surely? That proof was obviously lacking, as the police have apologised. That said, I do feel for the police officers who were put in a very awkward position.
Jenny, Greece (British)

Police policy on this matter is completely justified, however tragic the death of one innocent man, the police are faced with a decision that any member of the general public can not possibly understand. Let us for a moment consider the outcry that would have arisen had the gentleman in question been a suicide bomber and a similar attack had occurred. However regrettable and tragic a situation this is we cannot allow ourselves to doubt the policy with which to deal with these circumstances when the people responsible for the deaths and injuries to so many act with such a singular purpose.
John Morrissey, London, England

An attacker only needs to be lucky once
Luca, London
An attacker only needs to be lucky once, the security forces must be lucky 100% of the time. Our security forces are doing a great job, look how many terrorists are now in custody.
Luca, London

How many of the anti-police commentators here would have the guts to chase after a suspected suicide bomber? Although there are many details about this tragic incident that are a cause for concern we must recognise that the police are doing a very difficult job in unprecedented circumstances.
Griff, Cardiff, Wales

Of course it is justified. It is pure fantasy to imagine that you can 'aim to maim'. In a stress situation you need the biggest target you can get and the most reliable method of stopping the terrorist which will save your life and that of the public. To kill them is the only way to prevent them from carrying out a harmful act.
Ray, Maidstone, England

The terrorists have unfortunately raised the bar and we must respond
Paul, Manchester
Absolutely. The terrorists have unfortunately raised the bar and we must respond. Our police now have to make decisions resulting in life or death situations. Given that there have been 250 incidents I hardly think the police can be called reckless or trigger-happy.
Paul, Manchester

The only people who should carry guns on to British streets is the British Army. We need a stiff upper lip and some British bulldog spirit, not armed police on our streets.
Douglas, Dunfermline

I'm not 'burning with fear' from the terrorists. I am increasingly afraid of our police. We abolished the death penalty because it was shown that a jury in possession of all material facts and with time to decide could make a mistake. It is substantially more likely that a police officer in the heat of the moment will make a mistake.
Richard, London

Unfortunately in a time of terrorism we need to save lives by facing hard realities, one of which is that there is only one viable option in dealing with suicide bombers - shoot-to-kill. Any alternative risks them detonating their bombs.
Andrew J, London

In a war there will always be some civilian casualties
MT, Northant
In a war there will always be some civilian casualties, just as in a free society there will be many people willing to fleece/harm the innocent. With each comes the good/bad; we simply have to learn to tolerate, learn and educate.
MT, Northants

We're now told that in 250 recent 'scares', on 7 occasions police have come extremely close to shooting. Suppose they had, are we happy that in just a few weeks 7 more innocent people could easily be dead, simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, looked suspicious and panicked?
Julian Tisi, Maidenhead

What's the realistic alternative to shooting people to kill, if they behave like a threat to the lives of many others? None of the other posts on this board provide a practical solution. This country gave the world liberal philosophy and to quote Frances Hutcheson, "the greatest happiness of the greatest number" is more important than the rights of one.
Jonathan Jones, London

It is strange that a civilised nation like Britain would want to adopt such draconian and barbaric measures to tackle terrorism. What example are you setting for those nations and institutions that have looked to you as a model for fair justice?
Mutimba Mazwi, Lusaka, Zambia

All sections of the community have to pull together
Simon Robinson, London
I do live in London and I support the police - provided their actions are measured and reasonable. Like it or not, we are now in a different world than we were a few years ago. This situation is hard on all of us - including the police. Serving police officers are concerned about this policy and the shooting of Mr de Menezes. Legitimate concern and questioning is justifiable, witch hunts are not. All sections of the community have to pull together.
Simon Robinson, London

The manner of this man's death was horrific. But the need for such a policy should be apparent. The real failure here is in the quality of intelligence the police acted on. I would also like to know how this man was challenged by police and why he was allowed to board a bus?
Steve Jones, Vancouver, Canada

To those people saying they're happy with a reduction in civil liberties, you've got what you wanted. How would you feel if that was your son?
Garth B, Hull, UK

I fully support the shoot-to-kill policy but I am shocked at how many armchair critics are now all experts on the Met's policies and procedures! If the officers acted in a certain way it is because they are trained to do it that way, and it works effectively. Life in London is not how it used to be and we have to adapt to the changing times, otherwise the terrorists would have free reign to keep us living in fear. We will not be intimidated and maybe this will show them that. We must stand together and not start fighting amongst ourselves.
Steffi, Greater London

Britain is a role model to many other countries
Anthony Sisay, Hong Kong
The shoot-to-kill policy is absolutely wrong. Britain is a role model to many other countries. These countries will simply adopt this policy should Britain gratify it, making the world even more unsafe to live in.
Anthony Sisay, Hong Kong

We look to the police for protection in times of desperate need. The officer who shot Jean Charles de Menezes was himself in a time of desperate need - who could he turn to? Don't be so quick to judge.
Tony, Portland, USA

What other choice do the police have? It's about time the police stopped treating criminals with kid gloves.
Arwen Evans-Batt, Sutton

It is difficult to blame the police for how they are acting, but given the ruthlessness of the fools they are seeking to arrest, their action is justified.
Jones M Ilukena, Lusaka, Zambia

Shoot-to-kill should be renamed shoot-to-survive or shoot-to-protect
Rik Henderson, London
The term shoot-to-kill should be renamed shoot-to-survive or shoot-to-protect. This is what is in the mind of the enforcer when faced with a split second decision on what action to take. I don't envy their job.
Rik Henderson, London

Of course it should continue. I still don't think people realise what we are up against. We need more action against terrorists and their supporters.
John, Dunmow, Essex

Under no circumstances can it ever be justifiable. In the immediate aftermath of July 7, Tony Blair adamantly qualified England as a civilised nation of civilised people. This barbaric act is evidence to the contrary. It is evidence of morality and humanity on a very slippery slope of decline and self-delusion.
David Kersten, Singapore

Once we approve of such shoot-to-kill policies we are no better than terrorists themselves.
Julian, United States

The policy is never justified, unless you're in the middle of a war zone. Terrorism is bad but if they are going to shoot first and ask questions later, they should start to employ better weapons that immediately immobilize the suspect.
Omar Singh, Montreal, Canada

Critics of the shoot-to-kill policy must offer an alternative policy
George, Canberra, Australia
Critics of the shoot-to-kill policy must offer an alternative policy: realistically there isn't one. This kind of terrorism, particularly suicide bombers, is new for the British police and public. It cannot be compared with anything we had before.
George, Canberra, Australia

I absolutely support the police action taken. In the current climate if a police officer asks you to stop or they will shoot, then stop. The death of this individual is tragic for his family and friends but all he had to do was stop when first challenged.
Keith, USA

If he had been a bomber and the intelligence services had known, then the backlash would be severe. They are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't.
Jay Marshall, Epsom, Surrey

As an ex British soldier (RGJ) who served 2 tours in Ireland I stand by the police and their policies 100%. It wasn't a case of mistaken identity or an accidental crossfire killing; Jean Charles de Menezes jumped a turn style and ran from the police towards a crowded train. Imagine the consequence if he was a terrorist and SO19 did nothing!
Jason Steele, Pittsburgh, USA

There are all sorts of questions and no answers yet
Shane Hines, Ipswich, UK
We are still in the dark about what happened. The initial reports stated that the officers were in plain clothes. If so, surely extra care is needed in applying any shoot-to-kill policy, as it seems reasonable to flee armed gunmen. We do not know whether the officer involved was acting under orders or whether the decision to fire was made on the spur of the moment. There are all sorts of questions and no answers yet. Instead of excuses and platitudes, we need to know what happened and how the same mistake can be avoided in future.
Shane Hines, Ipswich, UK

I am a white female who grew up in East Los Angeles. From an early age we learn that the policeman is NOT your friend, and that running from the cops is not only a sane response but a smart thing to do. I have no doubt that Mr Menezes was of a similar frame of mind.
Anna Harding, Calgary, AB, Canada

We are being led to believe he was shot to death, even though pinned down, in case he exploded a bomb. If it was thought he was carrying a bomb why was he allowed to get on a bus?
GC, Liverpool

I would find it hard to distinguish between plain clothes police officers and your average criminal with a firearm. I too would run for my life.
Alex, London

This country is very rare and blessed that our police are not usually armed
Andy, Bath
We are heading in the wrong direction. This country is very rare and blessed that our police are not usually armed. When I see armed police in uniform I feel scared, but also reassured that there must be a serious threat and we are protected. This kind of incident completely undermines this reassurance.
Andy, Bath

Whatever the cost please do not blame our wonderful police force. They have a hard enough time as it is and put their lives on the line to protect the British public. In the Stockwell incident they had no other option but to shoot.
Joan Stephenson, Sunderland

Unjustifiable attitude. The death of an innocent man can never be considered an ordinary thing. The police should review its procedures in order to avoid more of these tragedies.
Rafael, Seattle, WA, US

Do the people that criticise the action of armed police know that once an officer discharges his weapon he is put under the closest scrutiny and could lose his career if he is proven wrong? The police do not shoot willy nilly unless they think there is a reasonable threat to the public.
Neil, Derby

Of course the shoot to kill in order to protect is justifiable
Mike, Scotland
Of course the shoot to kill in order to protect is justifiable. What use is a baton and a pair of hand cuffs against a rucksack full of explosives? Give the police the resources they require to protect their own lives while carrying out such a dangerous job to keep this country safe for the people who live in it!
Mike, Scotland

Giving up your individual rights and liberties just means that when our governments make bad decisions, both political and economical, we will have less means to challenge how and when to fix them. Just look at our country now (USA) and how anything is justified in the name of the "war on terror". A life is the ultimate price to pay for your mistakes, let alone for someone else's. To all Western governments: target your targets. Do not assume that any sane person who is persecuted by a plain-looking civilian with a gun will respond.
CG, Seattle, USA

I am a doctoral student studying in the UK. In my opinion the recent shoot-to-kill policy of the police is absolutely justified. Is there any other way of stopping these crazy lunatics who are always more than eager to blow themselves up? There is little or no room for any negotiation when it comes to suicide bombers. If we spend time dillydallying, trying to talk sense to these fanatics, the consequences may be disastrous
Sumohon Matilal, Calcutta, India

I am a retired soldier. I believe the police response to kill a suspect who ran when challenged is correct, it was not a mistake. If the suspect had nothing to hide he would not have run. Why did he run? If you value your life you are responsible to answer to the authorities, if you run the police must assume you are a threat and act appropriately. Well done to the London Police if all things are as reported.
Brad, Maple Ridge Canada

Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither. Being the victim of crime or terrorism is the ultimate price we pay for our freedom. Let's not pay a higher price by allowing government to erode our liberties. Let's not become those who we fight against. After all, they can't kill us all!
Derrick Khan, London

Desperate times call for desperate measures
Mike, Harare, Zimbabwe
This policy should remain in place in the interests of greater public security. Unfortunately there will be some collateral damage and tragedy. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Mike, Harare, Zimbabwe

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The police had to act on information and the facts that confronted them at that moment in time. The individual was challenged by the police, he chose to ignore that and ran. This was not the middle of the night with no-one around. It was daylight in a busy tube station.
Steve, Barnsley

The police have my backing 100%. They do a very dangerous job and their critics should join the police force themselves if they are not happy with the ways things are.
Lucy, Leeds, UK

I think I'll keep myself to countries where the rule of law is still in effect
Ryan, Nielson, Limerick, Ireland
Well I for one will be avoiding the London metro in future. The police as judge, jury and executioner is something I thought I'd only see in a Judge Dread comic. I think I'll keep myself to countries where the rule of law is still in effect.
Ryan, Nielson, Limerick, Ireland

Too many people here (and the tabloid press) show by their comments they obviously watch too much TV. Real life isn't like TV. Real guns aren't super accurate, you don't 'shoot to wound' and the police are human like the rest of us. Like us they make mistakes. It's all too easy to condemn them as trigger happy when it suit you, but I bet the same people will be blaming the police for not doing anything the next time a terrorist strikes.
John, UK

The terrorists are changing our country to be like theirs faster than we are changing theirs to be like ours. Our civil liberties are being rapidly eroded and the police kill innocent people. We say we won't give in to terrorism, but we already are. Who is winning?
Michael, I.O.W.

The simple fact remains, that if the police had apprehended Mr Menezes the moment he left his flat, instead of trying to mount a half-baked surveillance operation, then this tragedy would not have occurred. Of course the police deserve our support, but they are not beyond criticism and in my opinion, they were definitely at fault in this incident.
Chris, Brazil

The police are in a no win situation. Do nothing and risk a suicide bomber for which they would then be criticised for. Or do something when they suspect a suicide bomber and still be criticised. The police were right to do what they did under the present climate - they aired on the side of caution but sadly an innocent man got killed. But just think how many innocent people would have been seriously injured and/or killed if Mr Menezes had of been a suicide bomber! It doesn't bare thinking about!
John Garner, Clitheroe, Lancashire, England

London - unite against the terrorists, not the police
Deanna Holmes, Watford, England
It is not the police who are responsible for killing an innocent man. The blame lies solely with the terrorists, who can now add another innocent life to their bloody tally. London - unite against the terrorists, not the police.
Deanna Holmes, Watford, England

This man was being restrained and was pinned to the ground before being shot in the head. "Shoot to kill in order to protect" and "cold blooded summary execution based on suspicion alone" are entirely different instructions. Which of the two is the policy?
David, Livingston, Scotland

UK police are the best in the world. They are helpful, friendly and show professionalism that is admirable. We should have two types of police and also a special force that puts fear into anyone who may threaten others lives. Good luck to our great police in keeping our streets safer in these difficult times. Remember that one terrorist can kill hundreds of us.
Bob Grant, Oviedo Spain

It is understandable the amount of pressure London police is under. However, shoot-to-kill is not justifiable and will only make matters worse. Police should be better equipped with skills that enable them to halt a suspicious person from acting without killing.
Claudia Baptista, Toronto, Canada

In the current state of alert in this country, we should be very grateful for the actions of our emergency services
J. Simmons, Bristol, England
Our police anti-terror policy has been excellent. If individuals decide to disobey police commands and make a run for it, police officers have to keep the safety of themselves and the public in mind and make split second decisions. In the current state of alert in this country, we should be very grateful for the actions of our emergency services, even when the final outcome of their actions may sometimes be regrettable.
J. Simmons, Bristol, England

Plain clothes police shooting to kill, Bellmarsh imprisonment with no trail, the terrorists have certainly won, losing UK citizens' rights that took centuries to establish.
Leslie, Derby UK

If you're in London, best wear a T-shirt. Definately don't wear a heavy coat, even if it's raining. Don't carry a rucksack. And don't run if someone comes at you with a gun. What is life in GB coming to? The anti-terror policy needs to be scrutinised by level headed people.
Abid Bashir, Shipley, UK

I am in law enforcement. It is very easy to second guess what was going through the officer's mind at the time of the shooting now that it is over. Believe me when I tell you no officer wants to take another human's life, ever!

Security forces cannot wait for the terrorist to shoot first
John, Portrush, Northern Ireland
A shoot to kill policy is justifiable under the present circumstances and is generally justifiable under most terrorist threat situations. Security forces cannot wait for the terrorist to shoot first, or to detonate his suicide bomb first. The public must be protected from terrorism and terrorists must be sent a message that their activities will not be tolerated.
John, Portrush, Northern Ireland

Under the present circumstances the policy is the correct approach. As long as a clear to warning to stop is given.
Terry Jones, Halifax, West Yorkshire

I think in these present times the policy is justified. The Stockwell incident will be investigated and I hope the officers responsible will be cleared - from all reports they have followed the guidelines regarding the protocols.
Dean, Oldham, Lancashire

If that guy had been a suicide bomber would there even be a question? Say they hadn't shot him and he'd blown up that train, the police would have been criticised for not taking action. They acted the best way they could.
Jo Jones, Swansea, Wales

Is the cure as bad as the disease?
Martin, England, UK
Innocent people get killed by terrorism. Innocent people get killed by those fighting terrorism. Is the cure as bad as the disease?
Martin, England, UK

I thought the purpose of terrorism was to provoke the target state to invoke intolerable restrictions of freedom on their own citizens. What has happened to this analysis of 'terror'? 'Shoot to kill' seems the most extreme of these measures.
Keith, New York, USA

I think that those suggesting the Police find other methods of dealing with suicide bombers (real or suspected) should actually offer to do the job. Maybe a few critics could be recruited to approach each suspect for a chat and maybe a bit of finger waving at the naughty fellows before sending them on their way - minus explosives of course.
Peter, Treviso, Italy

Mr Mendes was an innocent person with nothing to hide or fear, so why did he run when challenged by the police? The obvious answer must be that he did not know they were police, they did not wear uniforms and in the heat of the moment he did not hear or understand their challenges. He paid a terrible price. If the police had shot him from a distance I would have been concerned about their shoot to kill policy, but shooting a man who was pinned to the floor is in my opinion murder. If you all think the police did the right thing, then this country, this green and pleasant land, has lost something that can never be regained.
Steve, Cornwall

Sad, but the incident is very easy to understand. The police have a job to do. That job is paramount. Citizens and visitors have a job to do also and that is obey the police at first command. Certainly not run away like a fool. The young man could have had a bomb and a quick triggering device as has been the custom with terrorists. After inquiry, should these be the facts, no action should be taken against the police.
Reg, San Francisco, USA

The police are fully justified in their current course of action
Jeff Stevens, London
The police are fully justified in their current course of action. This is a dirty war and they need to fight the cancer of terrorism on an equal footing. The time for pandering to civil liberties at the expense of the rights of the majority is now passed.
Jeff Stevens, London

The police need more power to act in every aspect of the law. Maybe if they had that power not only terrorists, but every criminal would be brought to justice instead of the police being cautious about being on the wrong side of the law.
Sandra Hardwick, Birmingham

The police are not just randomly shooting people but taking extremely hard decisions to protect us. It is easy to criticise from afar, but if he did have a bomb, the very same people would be criticising the police but for not shooting him.
Steve, Derby, UK

We cannot go around shooting people who might be terrorists or who may be connected to terrorist activity. We need to be reasonably certain. No doubt the police were trying to do their best. However, if strange men pulled guns on me, I would probably run like I've never run before.
Kim, Calgary, Canada

If the police believed the guy was a genuine threat they had every right to do what they did
Pete, London
The same policy is used by British soldiers in Iraq etc. If the police believed the guy was a genuine threat they had every right to do what they did. Lets get off their backs give them some credit for doing a job which most other civilians couldn't.
Pete, London

Well done to the prime minister and Ian Blair for standing up for our police officers - whilst it is tragic that an innocent man died, you can see why they believed he was a suicide bomber.
Rich, Billericay, UK

A shoot to kill policy at this time is an appropriate measure, but only if those operating such a policy are held accountable where the policy is abused or incompetently administered.
Gary, London

Having served and fought in the first Gulf War, I can totally sympathise with the officers and the situation they were in. It is very regrettable that an innocent man was killed but we are technically at war. We had to make split decisions in Kuwait, some we got wrong some we got right but we still had to make the decision.
SN, London, UK

Shoot to kill can never be justified in a democracy. We are all accountable for our actions. When we had hanging it was seen that many an innocent person was hanged for a crime they had never committed and this led to its abolition. We should gain the respect and confidence of the community who in turn will assist us in the fight against terror and injustice in this country of ours.
Robert Sebastian, Ash Vale, UK

The public's safety is the most important thing
Tony, Hackney, London
Don't blame the police for the shooting, they were going on the information they received from intelligence. The public's safety is the most important thing and this looks like this was the last option they had on reaching the tube carriage. In the end though it is the misguided terrorists who are to blame. Without their initial actions none of this would have happened and we would still be celebrating our Olympic bid win.
Tony, Hackney, London

Shoot to kill order - fair enough in the times we are living in but did they have to shoot this man so many times in the head? It's bad enough they made this mistake but was that amount of violence really necessary? I fail to see how a fully subdued man required so many gunshots to stop him.
S Collins, Hertfordshire, UK

I confess I wouldn't like to be it those police officers' shoes. They had to make a quick decision. Eventually, it was found out that they had killed an innocent man. Despite what England has been going through, shooting 8 times at a suspect makes us wonder what really happened. This was a terrible incident. However, it cannot be forgotten or recklessly investigated. What happened to Jean Charles could've happened to anyone.
Helder Cortez, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

It is sad to hear about this man's death but this incident serves as a deterrent - the terrorists now know that British authorities are determined to fight them at all costs So this policy is totally justified and I fully support it.
Simon, Poland

The end can never justify the means
Frankie, London, UK
Interesting that most of those supporting the police shooting first and asking questions later don't actually seem to actually live in London. This isn't a TV show, you know. How would you feel if in your town plain clothes police were at liberty to behave like this? The end can never justify the means, and it is horrifying that an innocent person was shot to death in public view when he was already pinned to the ground.
Frankie, London, UK

The shooting appears to be the unfortunate result of a number events occurring in a very stressful time; Mr Menezes was wearing a very heavy coat, he was in a suspect building, he chose to run when challenged by the police. Mistakes may have been made by the police, their intelligence may not have been spot on and the officers may have been a little over-zealous. The "shoot to kill" policy was put into place because a number of knowledgeable people felt it was necessary to protect ourselves from these attacks. Whilst the shooting is very sad, and we should endeavour to learn from these mistakes, this necessary policy should not be abandoned because of these unfortunate events. Furthermore, the police deserve our continued support during these difficult times.
Jeffrey, London

In extreme circumstances the shoot to kill policy is valid. However, I'd hate to be the one to have to make that life and death decision. That decision has to be made in a split second by a person who perceives himself or herself to be in danger and the last defence for self and the public. These human beings are both heroic and fallible.
Stanley, Grand Rapids, USA

When is the police chief going to explain why Mr Menezes was allowed to get into the tube train if he was considered such a dangerous threat? It would appear that there were many opportunities for him to be stopped long before he got to the station. This "shoot-to-kill" sets a dangerous precedent. Even in North America the police don't shoot just because someone looks suspicious.
Allan, Vancouver, Canada

Police forces have a very difficult position in all of this
Luke, Almeria, Spain
Around the world people are feeling the effects of terrorism. Police forces have a very difficult position in all of this. They must protect the society while part of that society is trying to destroy it. I agree that swift, decisive action must be taken. But is a shoot to kill policy really necessary? At what point do civil liberties play a role? In this case, are we certain the plain clothes officers identified themselves? I lived in Vauxhall for a while and I can promise you that I would run from a group of plain clothes armed men. I support the government and the police, but I am not willing to sacrifice liberties that our cousins across the pond have sacrificed!
Luke, Almeria, Spain

This policy is not at all justified. London hasn't reached the daily war chores like Israel and Palestine. The fault still lies on this police incompetence.
Leanne, Paris, France

The shooting of Mr Menezes is a tragic, tragic incident. However, the facts remain that in this day and age when everyone in London is aware of the man-hunt going on, and the inherent fear we all now have of getting on the London Underground, he ran when pursued by police, vaulted the barriers and made a beeline for the tube. What other conclusions were the police meant to make? I personally do not travel into London everyday and I am still terrified of public transport. One can only imagine how the regular commuters must feel on a daily basis.
Leigh, London, UK

They had a decision to make in a split second
Paul, Cardiff, UK
Whilst it's sad that an innocent chap was killed, he made a fundamental mistake of running off when challenged! Especially in this day and age! I would like to register my support for the police and specifically the officers who shot this chap. They had a decision to make in a split second and they made the right decision. The officers should not be suspended or in any way sanctioned and should be back on the streets as soon as they feel fit!
Paul, Cardiff, UK

Before commentators criticise the police they should consider that the Britain is now at war with terrorists who are willing to murder many others, and kill themselves, without warning. We expect the police to protect society, if that means the use of ultimate and lethal force than so be it, regrettably mistakes will happen.
Barry, Eastbourne, UK

They should have used CS gas. There were enough police officers there to keep him down. Shooting somebody should always be a last resort especially by plain clothes officers, which they were and why did they let this guy on the bus if they suspected him of carrying explosives.
Julie, Clapham

I'd like to suggest the police forces should consider other options to prevent this tragedy from happening again. I want to stress that they must find other options to protect innocent people or they will never succeed in winning supports of the people.
John, Canada

Shoot first ask questions later, that is hardly a free world. If I was in the city and was being followed then chased by a group of people without a single one identifying themselves then I would run. Am I supposed to just accept that death would be my justified fate?
Oliver, Bingley, West Yorkshire

To blame the police for what they did shows a remarkable lack of empathy
Francois, London
It is all well and good to blame the police now that we know the suspect was not a terrorist. At the time of his death Menezes was a suspect for good reason: running into the tube, ignoring 'Police!' calls and the police had good reasons to intercept him. To blame the police for what they did shows a remarkable lack of empathy and an arrogant pseudo-moral view that can only be taken comfortably by someone who did not have to make the split decision between take the life of one or allowing the life of many to be taken. Jean's death is tragic but the assignment of blame in this context is emotional and unreasonable.
Francois, London

Yes - we cannot back down now otherwise the terrorists will not fear the UK Police! Now they know they might be shot down instantly, they might think twice!
Claudia Lopes, London

I am a Londoner, Asian, pay tax, was here when the bombs went off and almost went off; if I saw white men running for me with guns, yes, I would run regardless of what they may say. Physical assaults are part of every day life for many Black Londoners, especially now - try and understand that part too. Why did they let him get on the bus if he could set off a bomb? I don't get it. Not at all.
Rohan, London, UK

In the heat of a pursuit things go wrong. It's not the officers' fault, but their superiors who fed them the idea of shoot to kill. We spiral into the endless pit of fear, and the politicians will make good use of it. You can place a bet on that, just read your history current and past.
Mohammad, Essex, UK

It's plan and simple to me, the 'Shoot to Kill' policy should remain in these circumstances and Londoners should feel more safe, if you obey the instructions of a Police Officer, you have no fear. If they had not taken the action they did and Mr Menezes had been a bomber and blew up the train with hundreds of innocent lives lost, we would have been asking "Why did the police not shoot him?" The police really can't win.
Phil, Stoke on Trent

A shoot-to-kill policy cannot be condoned. We are a society without guns who prides itself on our court process. We claim the terrorists won't change our way of life. Our police are shooting people - I think it's already changed.
Mike, Scotland

I support the policy although I am really sorry that the young Brazilian man was killed. I guess there is a lesson to be taken from this. If you are challenged by an armed police officer during a period of terrorist attacks on Underground trains, it is very risky to run away, especially onto a tube train.
Andrew Lambert, Kent England

The police can only do their job with the full cooperation of the public. Instead of undermining what they do on our behalf - we should ask for advice on how to act and then follow it. My heart goes out the family of Jean Charles, nonetheless if the armed police identified themselves and told him to stop, and he did not - frankly the outcome could hardly have been any different. I say this even if I were talking about a member of my own family. We should take heed of law enforcement professionals not just for their sake, and not only for our own - but to ensure that terrorists and terrorism have only one effect: their own demise.
Frances, Aldershot, UK

Do not trade your rights in the name of patriotism
Scott, USA/UK
I am a Englishman living in the States and I am very saddened by the events that are unfolding in London. Such a tradegy cannot be defined. What scares me the most is the ever tolerant British society evoling into the farce which exists in the United States now. That is in the name of democracy and its defence we start to restrict and invade the invidual's rights. Do not trade your rights in the name of patriotism. UK please do not lose you world respected tolerance in the name of a few.
Scott, NY,USA/UK

The policy is justified. There is no possible reasoning with cold blooded killers, regardles what their believes of justice are. Police should however ensure that before opening fire they are absolutely sure the person is a suspect. The death of the young Brazilian was a tragedy, however the public must be protected.
Eva Butler, Cork. Ireland

How callous of Eva Butler to say "The death of the young Brazilian was a tragedy, however the public must be protected." He WAS the public!
Harry, Edinburgh, Scotland

This shoot-to-kill policy can lead to even more innocent victims. How can a deaf person or a mentally disabled person understand warnings from the police? I think it is a dangerous policy that helps the terrorist create even more terror.
Guy De Becker, Mechelen Belgium

It is quite understandable that 'shoot to kill' policy is highly justified in the current circumstances.However, granting such powers to "plainclothes" policemen may lead to grave and irreversible mistakes. How is an individual expected to obey the instructions of a law enforcing authority when he doesn't have any method to recognize him as one?
D Roy, Jamshedpur, India

Many lessons can be learned from this but to protect your people this policy must remain
Shalini, New Delhi, India
Your policy of shoot to kill should carry on. This was an unfortunate incident...many lessons can be learned from this but to protect your people this policy must remain. In our country we have terrorists as well...if you ask me this will help. If the police stop this policy now it will send a wrong message to many miscreants.
Shalini, New Delhi, India

I'm afraid that I now feel as much in danger from the police as I do from the terrorists. I actually stand more chance of surviving a bomb than I do if the police pump five bullets into the back of my head. Given that these officers had nothing to identify them as police officers then I'm afraid there's every justification for running away from them as they could be anyone who just happens to have a gun in their hand.
Angry Londoner, UK

I am 100% behind our police force. If the man shot had been a suicide bomber and hadn't been stopped, the police would have been criticised for that. It seems to me that whatever they do will bring criticism but they must be allowed to do their job.
Julie, Hayes Middlesex

Blindly being 100% behind our police is not viable just as being 100% anti-police. They need to be more accountable as they serve the public, not themselves. If mistakes happen, then dependent on why they happen then unfortunately, like any other profession, heads must roll. Instead we have started to see attempts to question the victim's visa and immigration status.

The public need to have confidence in the security services
Audrey Taylor, Edinburgh, UK
If the police were suspicious of Mr Menezes, then surely he should have been approached before starting his terrifying journey. Innocent, ordinary working people are being targeted by these bombers. The public need to have confidence in the security services. I'm so ashamed of the 'plain clothes' police officers who allowed events to spiral into a catastrophe.
Audrey Taylor, Edinburgh, UK

Whilst we can appreciate that, at present, the police are faced with unprecedented demands, how can one justify the killing of an innocent life?
Idris, England

It's so easy to say OK the police were right when it's someone else who is dead. But if it was you or your loved one perhaps you'd change your mind...
Steve, Peterborough

If he was such a threat, why was Menezes allowed to travel for 15 minutes on a bus before reaching the Tube station?
Ollie, Leeds, UK

The police were wrong, they were in plain clothes and not in uniform. The price for their mistake has been Mr Meneze's life. Why didn't they stop him before he went into the station, since they had been following him from his place?
Genes Verdes, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

We're in unprecedented times
Dominic, Hungary
While clearly it's an unprecedented tragedy, we're in unprecedented times. Let's remember, he was in Stockwell which is crawling with armed police which he was fully aware of. He also took a split second choice in a high-risk location/environment, and he too got it wrong. If he was my brother I'd still not criticise the police who had our greater interests at heart.
Dominic, Hungary

It is very sad that Mr Mendes died in this manner, but people must understand that we are now living in a world of fear and especially after what has happened in London recently, the police are in a no-win situation.
Bernard McGuinnes, Birsfelden, Switzerland

True it's a complete tragedy. But it's clear you don't run from the police. You can only look at the incident outside 10 Downing Street last week with the 'suspect' who had a rucksack. He cooperated and was not shot. What we don't know is what was said by the police. Perhaps they should have cornered him instead of chasing cat and mouse.
Luc, London, UK

I read with interest the comments posted about this undoubtedly tragic shooting. However, as someone who lives in London and has to travel on the tube every day it is blatantly obvious that the majority of your respondents from outside London just do not understand what is actually happening in the city right now. They should try coming to London for a week and then see if they still want to criticise the police.
Steve, London

Steve of London said I should try living in London to have sympathy for the police. I do and I have no sympathy for the police. Any person who kills someone doing a job should be investigated, and also, the police work for us not the other way round. Who ever asked us if shoot to kill was a good policy? I would suggest tranquilizer darts may be better: you immobilize the victim, assure you don't kill the wrong man, and you have a suspect to question at the end of the day.
CT, London, UK

Would they have wanted the police to react any differently?
Steve, Bedford, UK
Let's put ourselves in the position of the passengers on the tube train, the passengers that might have been killed if there had been a suicide bomber on the train. In those seconds leading up to the shooting, would they have wanted the police to react any differently under the present security threat? I think not. Whilst the shooting is a tragedy, we must remain 100% behind our police force otherwise we hand a small victory to the bombers.
Steve, Bedford, UK

Having lived in Brazil I can understand Menezes fleeing with civilians with guns chasing him. He and I would have done the same in Sao Paulo or Rio because crime is so rampant in South American countries. But he could have been an illegal immigrant. Some Brazilians come over here on a tourist visa and disappear. Being accosted he would flee especially if they shouted "Police".
Neville, Abingdon, UK

Imagine yourself, in a foreign land without a firm grasp of the local language and customs, being suddenly shouted at and chased by men wielding guns. Throw in your cultural mistrust of the police and you begin to understand why he ran. Small comfort to his family that the police have lots of documentation and briefings to back up their justification for killing an innocent man. Could he not have been shot in the leg before getting near the tube station?
Conall Bullock, London, UK

I fear there will be much racial profiling occurring because of these terrible incidents. How can there not be? The tragic shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes may just be the beginning of it. Sometimes police don't look like police, and they certainly have been known to act aggressively at time. Perhaps Jean Charles didn't understand English well. It is quite possible that he mistook them for thugs and panicked. True, his choice of entering the tube and jumping the turnstile was unfortunate. I wonder what the police shouted at him. Did they identify themselves?
Meg, FL, USA

Oh, they could have shot him in the leg alright, but it wouldn't have stopped a suicide bomber triggering the device. Those claiming that the police could have had any alternative in this matter simply do not understand the facts, or the reality of the task that faces them in attempting to prevent these attacks in future.
Martin, Farnbrough

Killing innocent people doesn't make us safer
Michaela, Nottingham
I understand that the police need to be able to protect innocent people but Jean Charles was one and they failed in their duty to protect him. Those who say they wouldn't run need to seriously question themselves. Perhaps you wouldn't run from uniformed police but these guys could have been anyone. I hope this makes the police re-think the way they're tackling these events. Killing innocent people doesn't make us safer.
Michaela, Nottingham

At the present time the police are faced with unprecedented demands. Whilst the death of Mr Menezes is a tragic accident, the officers involved were acting on an honest held belief that he presented a real and definite threat. They acted to preserve the lives of others risking their own lives had he been a suicide bomber. They must be in agony now and should not be pilloried.
Andrew, Twickenham

I'm appalled by the comments of those people who think themselves experts on how to stop a suspected suicide bomber from detonating a bomb. SO19 officers and all other police armed response officers are putting their lives on the line to protect the public. They are extremely brave and dedicated officers - how dare those cowardly individuals who think they know best, criticise them.
Pete, Leeds

Would those people who keep referring to the fact that the dead man was down when the police shot him, remember that the same eye-witnesses also said that he was wearing a bomb-belt with wires coming out, and that he looked Pakistani. Neither of these 'facts' were correct - how do we know the rest is correct? I say to the highly trained police - keep up the good work; I for one feel a lot safer knowing you're out there protecting us.
Cal McBain, Sussex

We realise the desperate pressure that the police are under, but this policy cannot be right
D Prewett, Cirencester
I am appalled at the way the police shot this man in the head whilst he was, reportedly, held on the floor. Whatever reason he had to run from the police, surely they could have shot to disable him. Apparently this policy of 'shoot to kill and think afterwards' remains in place. We realise the desperate pressure that the police are under, but this policy cannot be right.
D Prewett, Cirencester

Surely the most frightening thing is how quickly we have come to share the terrorists' evident belief that innocent people must die.
Robin Saltonstall, Beverley, UK

I wonder how many hypocritical individuals posting anti-police comments would have felt the same if Mr Menezes was in fact a suicide bomber that slipped through the grasp of the police and detonated a bomb killing members of their family. They would most likely be claiming the police were not aggressive enough in their approach. Mr Menezes death was unfortunate, but if we jump all over the police every time they act, it is inevitable that they will soon become reluctant to make the tough decisions that ultimately protect our liberty.
Phil, Hertfordshire

Tim in Glasgow: SO19 (Met Police Firearms Specialists) are trained by the SAS, you do not get any better than that. Talk of 'trigger happy police' is nonsense. Those commenting on the need for one shot only rather than five are not firearms experts. If the officers shot him 5 times, the SAS would have trained them to do it.
Chris Parker, Bucks

Talking Point 31 July


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