Page last updated at 18:08 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 19:08 UK

Menezes surveillance 'confusion'

Cressida Dick (library picture)
Ms Dick said she had been trying to protect the people of London

The police chief leading operations on the day Jean Charles de Menezes' was shot has told an inquest surveillance messages were "clearly misinterpreted".

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick said she was told officers were at one time unsure whether the Brazilian was the suspect they were looking for.

Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot dead on a train at Stockwell Tube station by police hunting a suicide bomber.

Ms Dick said at the time she had "no doubt" they stopped the right man.

Electrician Mr de Menezes was shot seven times in the head on 22 July 2005, by police who believed he was failed bomber Hussain Osman.

Protecting London

Ms Dick was overseeing his pursuit through south London from a control room at Scotland Yard.

Ian Stern QC, representing the firearms officers, asked Ms Dick whether she was "satisfied that the suspect represented a real and immediate threat" and was intent on causing an explosion at the time he was shot.

I had trained a lot and understood about covert operations where there is a threat-to-life situation
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick

Ms Dick told the inquest at Oval cricket ground that she was.

She told the jury, a fellow officer monitoring operations "clearly misinterpreted when he was assessing what they [officers following Mr de Menezes] were saying".

She said: "There was a period when I was being told that the surveillance team thought this was not the suspect."

The officer said she was later informed: "They think it's him."

Ms Dick said: "I was in no doubt that he had been identified."

She added she was "trying to protect" the people of London.

She said: "I am in a senior rank, I am paid - relatively - a lot of money to take responsibility and that's what I tried to do.

"I had trained a lot and understood about covert operations where there is a threat-to-life situation. Not all my commander colleagues would perhaps say the same.

"I certainly do not spend time worrying about questions I might have asked."

The operation which lead to the shooting of Mr de Menezes on 22 July 2005 followed the attempted bombings of London's transport network the previous day. It also came in the wake of suicide bomb attacks on 7 July which killed 52 people.

Completing two-and-a-half days of evidence, Ms Dick told the inquest that her officers had not been prepared for a failed suicide bombing.

"Looking for a failed suicide bomber was not something we had really thought about," she said.

"Before July 2005, we had not had any attack by a suicide bomber, as you know, and we had not had any attack from what you might now call international terrorism."

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