Health and Safety 18 – what does contain mean? shrug
A detective leading a covert police operation following Jean Charles de Menezes asked control room bosses at least three times if he should detain him before he entered Stockwell Tube station, the Old Bailey heard today.
The officer, known as “James”, said he became “tetchy” after controllers told him to wait even though the 27-year-old Brazilian electrician – who police believed was 21/7 bomber Hussain Osman – was seconds from the radio dead zone of the Underground.
James, who contacted the control room while Mr de Menezes was still on a bus from Brixton to Stockwell, said: “I came on the radio and asked them a question: ‘Do you want me to detain the subject before he goes down to the Tube?’ My instructions were to wait. I told them we had got to make a decision and we have probably about 20 seconds. I said again: ‘Do you want this man detained?’
“I said ‘If you don’t give me any answer he is going to be down in the Tube and we will lose radio contact.’ I don’t know how many times I asked that question, it was at least three times.
“I just got, wait, wait, wait. I started to get tetchy and put down the telephone.”
James told the court how he had ordered his team to follow the Brazilian into the station but was alarmed to hear a firearms unit had also arrived.
The unit had not been at an earlier briefing and did not know the identities of the covert officers, jurors heard.
James said: “My concerns was that officer ‘Ivor’ was dressed identically to Mr de Menezes. He had a denim jeans and a denim jacket [and a rucksack - ed] and someone coming onto the plot might be confused.” He was worried a police officer might accidentally shoot a colleague: “I have got five surveillance officers down there who are all armed. They are in control of the subject and if the subject does something they can deal with it.
“If you have a firearms team running into that, that is going to compromise the surveillance and the sight of armed police running towards a subject is going to cause an issue… If you have got officers waving guns at each other, then clearly it’s not a very good place to be.”
The detective said he had become “frustrated” earlier in the day when, during a briefing in the control room, Detective Inspector Andrew Whiddett ordered his surveillance team to “contain” suspects.
When officer ‘”Harry” asked Mr Whiddett to explain “contain”, the officer allegedly shrugged his shoulders and refused to elaborate.
Surely that’s simply ****ing unacceptable.
You simply must not tell someone to do something, especially in a life or death situation, without explaining what it means!
James said he had decided to intervene if a suspect had been positively identified as a suicide bomber as “the threat of letting him run and the risk to life would be too great”.
Mr de Menezes was shot dead on a train at Stockwell on 22 July 2005. The Met is on trial under health and safety laws for failing to protect the public. It denies the charge.