The Independent Police Complaints Commission report into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes has found that he was killed because of a series of avoidable errors and “should have been avoided.”
The report describes as “inexplicable” the decision to allow de Menezes – suspected at the time by officers of being a suicide bomber – to board a bus at Tulse Hill.
It also finds that: “There is no doubt that the surveillance log has been altered. That would not have occurred if the investigation had been referred to the IPCC immediately” however the IPCC said it was unable to identify those responsible for the alterations.
Following publication of the report Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: “Terrorists will no doubt be encouraged to find that instead of concentrating on rounding up terrorists and breaking up terror cells, some of our key police officers may now have to concentrate on preparing for disciplinary matters, and this situation must be brought to a very swift end.”
Metropolitan Police Authority Chair Len Duvall said the Authority was “determined to see that the lessons from the IPCC reports are firmly embedded in police practice.”
Duvall said there: “there is no copper-bottomed one hundred percent guarantee that it will never happen again. That is impossible to promise and we must be realistic about what might happen during a fast-moving police operation or a terrorist threat in the future.”
“What I can guarantee is that the MPA will continue to work with the Metropolitan Police to ensure policies and procedures are developed to minimise as much as possible those risks. No one wants a repeat of what happened so tragically on that fateful day – least of all the police who are often faced with impossible choices.”
However the met may find some comfort in the finding that: “No material has been seen or assembled by the IPCC to suggest that this tragedy was the result of any deliberate act designed to endanger the life of any innocent third party or indeed to kill such an individual. All those involved at both command and operational level were intent upon protecting the general public from a perceived threat of illegal lethal force.”
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said the report “confirms clear, systemic failings in the operation leading up to the events on 22 July, 2005” adding that “with the need to restore public confidence and improve public safety, Sir Ian Blair’s position remains untenable.”
The IPCC has asked the MPA to consider if disciplinary action should be taken against DAC Cressida Dick and AC Andy Hayman however this has been ruled out by Duvall. In a statement Mr Duvall said the Authority was confirming “as final” a previously stated provisional view that disciplinary action should not be taken.
The decision to reject the disciplinary action against the pair has been welcomed by Mayor Livingstone who said: “As with Sir Ian Blair it is outrageous that senior police officers, such as Cressida Dick and Andy Hayman, due to a political witch hunt, are wasting their time considering whether they will face disciplinary charges rather than being able to concentrate on carrying out their job of safeguarding Londoners.”