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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Menezes officers 'changed mind'
Stockwell Tube Station
Stockwell: Flurry of decisions in last moments
The trial of the Metropolitan Police over Jean Charles de Menezes' death has heard senior officers changed tactics just before the Brazilian was shot.

A senior officer told the Old Bailey commanders changed their minds over how to apprehend the man they feared was a suicide bomber at a Tube station.

The trial heard commanders did not sanction the force's "Kratos" policy to stop suicide bombers with a fatal shot.

The force denies breaking health and safety laws over the death in 2005.

Mr Menezes, 27, was shot seven times by two firearms officers at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005.

Giving evidence at the trial, Detective Superintendent Boutcher told the jury about how the fast-moving events in south London at the time - a day after the failed 21 July bombings - were influencing decisions in the Scotland Yard operations room.

Mr Boutcher was the "silver" commander during the operation.

This was potentially Hussain Osman and a reasonable and balanced decision would be to stop the subject with the surveillance team before he was able to get into the Underground
Detective Superintendent Jon Boutcher

During the trial's opening, the prosecution alleged that commanders did not have full control of the situation because of an atmosphere of confusion.

In the final moments before the shooting, two separate teams were closing in on Mr Menezes - "SO12" surveillance officers and specialist "SO19" firearms officers.

The surveillance officers were close to Mr Menezes but had not been able to establish if he was failed 21 July suicide bomber Hussain Osman.

Firearms officers had been separately briefed to stop a suspect "at all costs" from entering the Underground system, and assumed the man being followed was one of the failed bombers from the day before.

Moments to act

Mr Boutcher said that as Mr Menezes got closer to the Tube station, despite uncertainty over his identity, there was enough suspicion in the operations room to order an arrest.

It was first believed he was not - and then that he was - the suspect Osman.

They also believed the SO19 team were too far away to make the stop.

Commander Cressida Dick
Cressida Dick: Responsible for Kratos policy

He said he then informed another commander, Cressida Dick, that she should tell the SO12 surveillance team to detain the subject.

"The SO12 officers are not trained for armed intervention. They carry firearms merely for self-protection.

"But in my judgment this was potentially Hussain Osman and a reasonable and balanced decision would be to stop the subject with the surveillance team before he was able to get into the Underground.

"She did indeed instruct the SO12 officers were to stop the subject."

But the court heard that seconds after the order was made, another senior officer codenamed "Trojan 80" informed the commanders that the SO19 team were able to take over.

"Commander Dick then instructed that the SO19 officers would now conduct the arrest because they were in position to do so," said Mr Boutcher.

'State red'

Commander Dick was the senior officer in the Scotland Yard operations room for authorising the use of Operation Kratos, the Met's policy for dealing with suicide bombers.

The strategy includes allowing armed officers to shoot to kill without warning because of the dangers of a bomber setting off his device should he know police are closing in.

Mr Boutcher told the trial that Commander Dick did not activate Kratos during the operation.

SO19 officers moved to "state red", meaning they were preparing to make an armed stop of the suspect who was already on the down escalator.

The operations room then lost radio contact with officers. The next message was that "the subject has been shot".

The case continues.



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