UK Liberty

Sir Ian Blair under pressure

Posted in de Menezes, law and order by ukliberty on November 12, 2007

Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair faces mounting pressure in the wake of the de Menezes shooting.

Now Conservative Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve has written to the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, regarding Blair’s letter to the Home Office blocking the IPCC investigation (alternative link):

In blocking the IPCC investigation, he [Sir Ian] placed himself above the law and in clear breach of his statutory duties and the will of Parliament. The effect has been to discredit the Metropolitan Police on the basis of inferences that may not be true and cannot now be properly resolved.

Blair had, at the time, written to the Home Office, saying he believed he should be allowed to ‘suspend’ s17 Police Reform Act 2002 under certain circumstances, and the de Menezes shooting was such a circumstance, and it would instead by investigated by the Met’s own Directorate of Professional Standards.

Somewhat ironically, it seems to me,

Nothing in this section [s17] shall require a police authority or chief officer—

(a) to provide the Commission with any information or document, or to produce or deliver up any other thing, before the earliest time at which it is practicable for that authority or chief officer to do so …


So he could have, if I understand correctly, said that it wasn’t practical to provide certain things at that time.  But he didn’t.

According to the Evening Standard,

A police spokesman said Sir Ian made clear last week he would “not make the same decision again in similar circumstances”. But his decision was made “with the best of motives that the rigorous investigation needed to be fully co-ordinated with the needs of the counter terrorism investigation to track down the suicide bombers”.

The thing is, even if we break the law with the best of motives, we must still be held accountable for it, and some impartial authority must decide whether or not there were extenuating circumstances.


One Response

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  1. IanP said, on November 12, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Whilst everyone is still concentrating on the De Menezes case, there was another shooting which has been overlooked.

    Azelle Rodney was shot five times in the head by a police marksman on 30 April 2005 – three months before Jean Charles de Menezes died.

    An officer shot Mr Rodney seven times, including five times to his head, which was said to be almost totally destroyed. The cop has since been on paid leave.

    The case was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service but, unlike the Menezes case, no charges were brought against the Metropolitan Police.

    But a coroner has said [coroner’s ruling – 150Kb PDF] he cannot hold a lawful inquest because of secret evidence which cannot be made public.

    In August coroner Andrew Walker, sitting at Hornsey in north London, announced he could not proceed with a full inquest into Mr Rodney’s death because of a large number of redactions – passages crossed out – in police officers’ statements.

    The police have admitted it was a “pre-planned” operation but they have refused to release more details.

    This one also needs a public enquiry and an open and honest airing.

    I made the comment that when people die on our streets at the hands of the Police, senior officers must be held responsible, details made public, otherwise the Police will be viewed as little more than an unaccountable terror organisation by the public at large.

    There is absolutely no difference between this from the Met Police, and the warlords in Mogadishu.

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