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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 11:04 GMT
Police defend shooting strategy
Jean Charles de Menezes
Mr Menezes was shot seven times in the head on a Tube train
There is no need to change the strategy police use to deal with suicide bombers despite the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, senior officers have said.

But the Association of Chief Police Officers, reviewing how the Brazilian was killed, accepted the public needed a clearer explanation of their tactics.

The Met Police Authority, a civilian body which oversees the Met Police, said Acpo's review was not good enough.

Mr Menezes was shot in London last July after police mistook him for a bomber.

He was shot seven times in the head at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July, the day after several failed bomb attacks on London's transport network.

'Not prepared'

Acpo president Sir Chris Fox said he was "pleased" the existing policy - known as Operation Kratos - had been deemed "fit for purpose".

"The police service has an overriding duty to protect life, and occasionally, in discharging its duty, force is used," he said.

Did we look at a mobile intelligence gathering operation going live? The answer is no we didn't.
Chief Constable Barbara Wilding

Under Operation Kratos, police marksmen can shoot a suicide bomb suspect in the head with no warning to stop them from detonating the device.

"Very rarely officers, in order to save life, may have to take life," said Sir Chris.

But human rights group Liberty accused Acpo of being "insensitive" and said its report was "counterproductive".

And the Met Police Authority (MPA) said the policy had gone "drastically and badly wrong".

Spokeswoman Jenny Jones said: "The fact is that we have a policy on the streets of Britain which we don't understand, and which we cannot possibly know won't go wrong again."

Not prepared

Chief Constable Barbara Wilding, who helped draw up Operation Kratos after September 11, told the BBC's Panorama that it did not plan for the events that led to the shooting of the Brazilian electrician.

She said it was not prepared for an intelligence gathering operation turning into a live and mobile threat.

Police in this country had secretly introduced for themselves, without any democratic debate or approval, a 'shoot to kill' policy
Menezes family lawyers

Acpo's review backed the policies from a technical perspective but said some aspects, such as firearms training, communication and intelligence management should be re-examined.

Acpo said these aspects would be reconsidered after the findings of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report were published.

The IPCC has completed its investigation into the death of Mr Menezes and sent its report to the Crown Prosecution Service, which is still considering whether to charge any of the Met officers involved.

In a statement, lawyers for the Menezes family said police had secretly introduced a "shoot-to-kill" policy without any democratic debate.

"Now Acpo seeks to reinstate the secret policy publicly before any inquiry into the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes is completed, confident that police can hide behind the claim that a criminal investigation is still under way."

Panorama's programme, Stockwell: Countdown to killing will be broadcast on Wednesday 8 March 2006 at 21:00 GMT on BBC One.

Panorama - De Menezes Special


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