New inquiry into 'police failings' that led to killing of Brazilian

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Scotland Yard is facing a fresh inquiry into its controversial shoot-to-kill policy after the killing of the innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes last July.

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the independent watchdog for the force, prompted by the shooting, is to investigate communications failures between police chiefs and firearms officers.

The 27-year-old was shot deadat Stockwell Tube station, south London, in the wake of the London bombings, by police exercising a shoot-to-kill policy.

A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) handed to prosecutors last week is understood to blame the killing on failings in the Met's command and control procedures.

The MPA review is expected to recommend radical changes in the type of orders given to police, even the words that commanders use when issuing instructions.

A copy of the MPA's report on police firearms procedures is likely to be handed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is considering the IPCC's findings. It is understood that the CPS has suggested that there are grounds for criminal charges to be brought against at least 10 officers involved in the shooting of Mr de Menezes.

A source at the MPA said there was concern that a communications failure led to the "execution-style" killing of the electrician, who was shot eight times. "From what we understand, there was not enough clarification of the orders used and that better communications are needed above and below ground on these type of operations," the source said.

The IPCC report has gone to only a limited number of people, among them Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, to prevent leaks, which could jeopardise a criminal trial.

It is understood that the IPCC investigation raises concerns about Operation Kratos, the strategy introduced to deal with suspected suicide bombers, which authorises commanders to order officers to act only on instructions, rather than making their own decisions. This means that firearms police are, in effect, notin charge of their own actions.

Reports have said that Commander Cressida Dick, who was in charge of operations on the day Mr de Menezes was killed, told IPCC investigators that she ordered firearms officers only to "stop" the Brazilian.

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, is facing a second IPCC inquiry, after a complaint by Mr de Menezes' family that he made misleading statements following the shooting.

Police sources said that Mr de Menezes may have been found with cocaine, a story that has been denounced by his family as a smear.

Alex Pereira, a cousin, said: "As far as we know he was only found with his wallet and phone. He always told me it was silly to take drugs. This is just another attempt to smear him."

The family, angry that it has not been allowed to see the IPCC report, has written to the Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General, demanding that the Stockwell investigation be completed before the end of next month.