Leading article: Unreasonable force

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The Independent Online

His attitude makes nonsense of his own admission there needed to be a debate on the lethal use of force. If that is the case, surely the first thing the Metshould do is to pull back from its policy of shooting at the head of suspects without warning, at least until the complaints commission reports and Parliament has had a chance to examine the issue? Instead we learn of plans to widen the policy to cases of stalking and domestic violence.

The argument of the police is that lethal force is the only credible tactic to deal with the terrorist threat. This is specious. The alternative to shoot-to-kill is not to do nothing, but to employ guns more selectively and to balance risks more carefully. Under British law, the police have always been allowed to use "reasonable force" to save lives. That is not disputed.

What is of concern is a deliberate policy of pre-emptive killing, introduced without parliamentary debate or public discussion, and without clear guidelines. That policy resulted in the death of an innocent man. The police cannot simply go on regardless without review or proper public scrutiny.