UK Liberty

Health and Safety 3 – chaos in the control room

Posted in de Menezes by ukliberty on October 2, 2007

The Times:

New Scotland Yard’s operations control room was a scene of chaos, confusion and indecision on the day that its officers shot dead an innocent man on the Tube, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.

Room 1600 was supposed to be the nerve centre from which senior officers directed a fast-moving operation to catch four would-be suicide bombers. Instead, it was noisy and overcrowded, with radio operators unable to hear transmissions from frontline officers and commanding officers unclear about what was happening.

The Guardian:

Yesterday the court heard that senior officers in control room 1600 at New Scotland Yard were in a state of chaos in the hours leading up to Mr de Menezes’s death. “You will hear about the atmosphere in the overcrowded room as officers from other departments – many of whom had no real business being there – crowded into the room to see what was going on. The operations room was noisy and chaotic,” said Ms Montgomery.

She said the officer who was supposed to monitor the surveillance commentary had “great difficulty in hearing the radio transmissions of the surveillance officers. There were repeated requests for non-essential staff to leave the room”

Update

The BBC:

Ms Montgomery told the court that despite a clear strategy having been decided by a Scotland Yard commander and written up clearly on the operations room’s white board, this was not properly passed on to either the surveillance or firearms teams.

The firearms officers appeared to be even more in the dark because of a “simply inexplicable” four-hour delay between the plan being launched and their teams reaching the location, she said.

“There was obvious confusion from the outset between the three groups of officers – those in the operations room, the surveillance officers and the firearms officers,” said Ms Montgomery.

When one of the surveillance officers tried to clarify what they should do if forced to “contain” the suspect, “all he got was a shrug of the shoulders”, she said.

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