The resignation of Britain’s top policeman has stunned the family of an innocent man shot dead by police officers who mistook him for an Islamic terrorist: Although the controversy surrounding Sir Ian Blair – who quit as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London at the end of last week – remained focused yesterday on claims of political interference, there have long been doubts that he could have survived in his job after an inquest into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. The inquest into the death of the 27-year-old Brazilian, who was working in London as an electrician when he was shot eight times as he sat on a tube train after being mistakenly identified as a suicide bomber, began just over a fortnight ago and is expected to end in the next three to four weeks. Immediately after the July 22, 2005 shooting, which occurred two weeks after four young Muslim extremists had detonated suicide bombs on London’s transport system killing 52 commuters, Mr Blair said during a press conference that Menezes was “directly linked” to a second group that had tried, but failed, to cause other explosions on buses the day before. In fact, as The Times, of London, pointed out last week, “everyone in Scotland Yard seemed to know that they had shot the wrong man – everyone, that is, except the man at the top”. David Sapsted reports.
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A police chief was slapped down by the Government yesterday for suggesting Britain could open talks with Al Qaeda. Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said he knew of no terror campaign that had not ended with negotiation. And he said his 30 years spent tackling the IRA had convinced him that security work and arrests were not enough to defeat terrorists. But his suggestion was immediately dismissed by the Foreign Office. A spokesman said: ‘It is inconceivable that Her Majesty’s Government would ever seek to reach a mutually acceptable accommodation with a terrorist organisation like Al Qaeda.’ Jonathan Powell, ex-chief of staff at Downing Street, also says the Ulster peace deal shows talking to terror groups can work. He said negotiating with Al Qaeda might seem pointless now, but a political solution would be needed in the end. Sir Hugh, a leading contender to take over from Sir Ian Blair as chief of the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘If you want my professional assessment of any terrorism campaign, what fixes it is talking and engaging and judging when the conditions are right for that to take place.’
One of the country’s most senior Muslim police officers has been promoted by the Metropolitan Police. Ali Dizaei is now a Commander and can now join the Association of Chief Police Officers, having previously been a Chief Superintendent. He was at the centre of a four-year _4m investigation over allegations of perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office. He was cleared of the charges by the Old Bailey in 2003. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair apologised for the _4m probe into Commander Dizaei, saying it had caused “considerable damage” within the force. Commander Dizaei has been an outspoken critic of institutional racism in the service, stop and search and the need for Muslims to help in the fight against terrorism. This was his fourth attempt to become a chief officer.http://www.themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=262D75BE37DDF57E66CCB68E&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News