The Home Office is at the centre of another row over crime figures after the head of the UK Statistics Authority accused it of issuing “selective” statistics on knife offending.
Sir Michael Scholar, head of the Authority, said the release of details on an initiative to tackle knife attacks by both the Home Office and 10 Downing Street had been “premature”.
The rebuke, which oversees the Office for National Statistics, is highly damaging, particularly as it follows disputes over the way the Home Office has dealt with release of crime and immigration and asylum figures.
Sir Michael said that the release of stabbing data was “premature, irregular and selective”.
The figures were handed to the BBC which used them in its lead story during early morning bulletins on Radio 4.
Sir Michael wrote to Jeremy Heywood, permanent secretary at 10 Downing Street, and said that figures on hospital admissions for stabbing injuries had not been properly checked and putting them out early was “corrosive of public trust”.
He said in his letter that he had been told that officials or advisors in Number 10 had “caused” the Home Office to issue the release.
The statisticians who produced the figures attempted to block their release on the grounds it was in breach of the National Statistics Code of Practice.
Sir Michael said: “These statistics were not due for publication for some time and had not therefore been through the regular process of checking and quality assurance.
“The statisticians who produced them, together with the National Statistician, tried unsuccessfully to prevent their premature, irregular and selective release.
“I hope you will agree that the publication of prematurely released and unchecked statistics is corrosive of public trust in official statistics and incompatible with the high standards which we are all seeking to establish.
“I would be grateful for your comments and for your assurance that there will be no repetition of this breach of the National Statistics Code of Practice.” …
Which seems to mean they reject that he was lawfully killed.
The jury at the inquest into the mistaken shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes has returned an open verdict.
Two officers shot Mr de Menezes seven times as he sat on a train at Stockwell Underground station, south London. They thought he was a suicide bomber.
The jury returned the verdict after deliberating for a week.
A solicitor for the Menezes family said it was the best verdict they could hope for, given that unlawful killing was not on offer.
The jury of 10 were asked 12 specific questions about whether or not a series of events on 22 July 2005 contributed to the 27-year-old’s death.
A majority of the jury said that they did not believe officers had shouted “armed police” before opening fire.
They said said they believed Mr Menezes had stood up from his seat before being shot. However they did not believe he had moved towards the first officer to open fire.
Mr Menezes’ family had earlier withdrawn from the inquest after the coroner told the jury they would not be able to return a verdict of unlawful death at the hands of police.
Sir Michael Wright, the coroner at the three-month-long inquest held at the Oval Cricket Ground in London, said the facts did not justify allowing the jury to consider an unlawful killing. …
After a three-month hearing, jurors rejected the idea that the innocent Brazilian had been killed lawfully by police and returned an “open verdict”.
In answering a series of questions set by the coroner they dismissed the accounts of firearms officers who claimed they had shouted a warning before shooting Mr de Menezes.
The 27-year-old electrician was shot dead in July 2005, on a Tube train at Stockwell Underground station, after being mistaken for a suicide terrorist who had attempted to bomb the London transport network the previous day.
Jurors criticised the operation for failing to use better photographs of the suicide bomb suspect which could have helped with his identification.
They said it was a police failure that Mr de Menezes was not stopped before he reached public transport.
Other factors which led to his death included shortcomings in communications between police units on the ground, and a failure of commanders at Scotland Yard to have an accurate picture of what was happening.
The jury, which deliberated for seven days, rejected the suggestion that Mr de Menezes’s “innocent” actions had in some way increased suspicions of police. …
The coroner had directed them to find an open verdict only if they rejected that the two marksmen who shot dead Mr de Menezes, “were acting in lawful defence of themselves or others” having “honestly although mistakenly” believed that he was a suicide bomber. …
The inquest jury examining the death of Jean Charles de Menezes has returned an open verdict – refusing to accept the idea that he was lawfully killed in a fast-moving anti-terrorist operation.
The jurors also answered a series of questions about the circumstances of Mr de Menezes’s death on board a Tube train at Stockwell, South London, in a way which rejected much of the account of the shooting given by police firearms officers.
The Independent says Kratos has been dropped (although I must say that other Operations continue to exist!) and that
Some officers see the continuing row over conferring on notes in the aftermath of high-profile incidents as an example of how they are increasingly considered as potential suspects and not witnesses.
Well, if I was to commit a prima facie unlawful killing, or even if I witnessed one, I wouldn’t be allowed to confer with other people. Police are supposed to be members of the public.
Firearms bosses at Scotland Yard are openly angry over the way two elite marksmen were “vilified” during the Menezes inquest.
Of the catalogue of errors highlighted at the Oval cricket ground in south London, some officers insist that C2 and C12 had little option but to shoot Jean Charles de Menezes.
The authority overseeing Britain’s largest police force warned that a government decision to allow Taser stun guns to be used by non-specialist firearms officers threatened to cause “fear” among the public.
Jacqui Smith’s announcement that 10,000 of the weapons are to be supplied to 43 forces in England and Wales suffered an immediate blow when the Metropolitan Police Authority said it had no intention sanctioning their wider deployment in London.
The move by the Authority, which oversees the Metropolitan Police, cames as Amnesty International warned of the danger that officers would start using Tasers on a routine basis.
After trials in which front line officers in ten forces have used the Taser gun, Ms Smith said that £8m is to be spent on supplying 10,000 weapons to all forces. At present, only specialist firearms officers carry the guns – but this will now be extended to an estimated 30,000 front line officers who have been trained to use the weapon. …
Within hours of Ms Smith making the announcement, the Metropolitan Police Authority warned that allowing Tasers to be used by non-specialist firearms officers had the potential to cause “fear” and “damage public confidence” in the police.
The Authority said it had no intention of sanctioning an increase in the availability of Tasers in London.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Authority said it would not take up the offer of funding immediately because of the potential of Tasers to cause “fear” and “damage public confidence” in the police.
He said: “The MPA has no intention of immediately sanctioning any increase in the availability of Tasers to officers in the Met.
“The current arrangements in the Met are that only trained and supervised specialist officers may deploy Tasers, and were introduced after an extensive consultation and communication programme with London’s communities.” …