Did the officers follow proper procedures?

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The Independent Online

Was there a failure of intelligence?

Was there a failure of intelligence?

Almost certainly. The police had expected to find one suspect for a routine deportation matter. Instead they discovered three men, two of whom, they discovered during questioning, had possible links to a poison laboratory in north London. One of these men is now accused of stabbing the officer.

Why were the officers unarmed?

Armed officers are usually only used in cases where there is considered to be a high risk, partly because there are only a limited number of firearms officers and partly because an armed raid requires greater authorisation.

Why were some of the officers not wearing stab-proof vests?

It is compulsory in the Manchester force for uniformed operational officers to wear protective vests, but plain-clothes officers in specialist squads, such as Special Branch and CID, do not have to wear them unless their senior officer believes there is a high risk. In this raid, which was considered a low-threat operation, the officers were allowed to choose. Officers have complained that the vests can be heavy and uncomfortable.

Why did the police fail to handcuff the suspects?

None of the three suspects was in handcuffs at the time of the stabbing, a senior Manchester police officer has admitted. It seems very strange that men suspected of being involved in terrorism or mixing with terrorists were not physically detained.

Why did the police question and search the suspects at the flat and not in the cell?

This appears to be one of the crucial mistakes. Once the officers at the scene became aware that two of the suspects might be connected to the ricin find, they questioned them for about an hour rather than taking them to the police station. The suspects had been asked to take off their clothes for forensic analysis and wear a temporarily boiler suit to protect any traces of ricin that might be on their bodies. In the event no ricin has been discovered so far.

Were the police following the proper procedures?

There are no hard and fast rules, but Greater Manchester Police believes the initial raid was carried out in line with its guidelines. The crucial question is what happened after the flat was secured by riot officers in body armour and the men were placed under arrest. It appears the mistakes were made in keeping the suspects at the flat and not securing them with handcuffs.

What is the ricin connection?

The two menunexpectedly found in the Manchester flat were believed to be terrorist suspects wanted by Scotland Yard in connection with the ricin find. It is unclear at this stage what alerted the officers in Manchester ­ one of whom was from the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist branch ­ but it was probably either documents found at the property or identification papers that linked the two with the Algerians arrested and later charged in London.