Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Friday, 2 November 2007

Menezes Ops Room: The diary

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News

Log reads: Subject has been shot. Ambulance asap - there now. BTP (British Transport Police) already aware."

The jury at the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes has returned an open verdict. During the hearings, they heard detailed evidence about Room 1600 - the emergency operations control room.

It was here that the hunt for the failed 21 July bombers was co-ordinated.

Inside, one officer played the role of "loggist" - recording by hand everything that was going on and every decision that commanders made.


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When Mr de Menezes left home that morning, the "grey team" surveillance officers followed him.

The diary says they had "control" of him, but at this early stage they were not sure whether he was definitely their target - would-be bomber Hussain Osman.

By the time the Brazilian reached Brixton Tube station, the officers felt his behaviour was giving cause for concern.

Log reads: "Guy outside Tube station. Osman. Grey have control. What doing at tube station? Very jumpy. Establish ID and hold"

The critical issue for Scotland Yard was how to stop this man. Surveillance officers were armed for their own safety, but were not trained to confront a potential suicide bomber. In the Ops Room, Commander Cressida Dick said SO19, the specialist firearms officers, must get to the scene and step in.

Log reads: "Brixton Tube (Osman) Don't want your people going up to this man - that will be SO19. Cressida Dick"

But nobody was sure where the firearms officers were. They should have been outside the flat but were not there in time to stop him jumping on a bus.

The Ops Room, fearing the target was now heading for Stockwell Tube, asked the senior firearms commander on the ground to clarify what was going on.

Log reads: Stockwell Road on the map. Are you moving your team firearms team yes. No 2 route Sydney Road going north"

Minutes later, at 1000 BST, it was clear that officers were convinced their target was heading for the Underground. If he was one of the bombers, he would have to be stopped.

The log shows Commander Dick gave a specific order: If the identification is good - stop him.

Log reads: Dorset Road 3rd address (referring to a separate stake-out0. CD: If good Ident, can't let him down the tube."

Time was running out. Commander Dick again insisted that SO19 must stop the target. But the loggist recorded that they were still not at the station - and the subject was now on the escalators.

Log reads: Down the Tube, Must be challenged before getting down the tube. No stop without 19."

Suddenly, at 1004 BST, she was forced to change the strategy. SO12, the lightly-armed surveillance officers, had no choice but to stop the man themselves.

Log reads: "CD: Stop him, 12 to do it. Going into Tube."

Then seconds later, Commander Dick was informed that SO19 officers had arrived and declared State Red, meaning they were taking over and preparing to make a "hard stop".

Log reads: State Red 19. SO19 doing stop, do not let surveillance intervene"

As the firearms teams rushed to the platform, officers briefed Commander Dick that everything was "all right" upstairs - but nobody knew what was going on downstairs.

At 1008 BST the call came in: - a man had been shot.

Log reads: Subject has been shot. Ambulance asap - there now. BTP (British Transport Police) already aware."

Within minutes, Cressida Dick offered to step back as the Designated Senior Officer with responsibility for Operation Kratos, the Met's policies to shoot a suicide bomber without warning:

Cressida Dick questions if she should stand down at 10.14am.

"This is an important decision in the light of what has happened," she wrote later that evening in the formal typed version of her decision log. "NOT appropriate for me to make it ... this has major implications potentially for the Metropolitan Police Service and London." Her superiors backed her and asked her to stay in charge of the operation room.

Very soon afterwards, the facts began to emerge.

First formally recorded indication that victim was not Osman comes at about midday.

There was still an "urgent need" for the suspected bombers to be arrested - but the man killed at Stockwell did not seem to be the man the suspect. Shortly after 5.30pm, the following was handwritten in the operation room notes:

First formal note in the operations room that the dead man may be Jean Charles de Menezes, shortly after 5.30pm.

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