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
The man shot dead on an Underground train in south London on Friday was not connected to attempted terror attacks on the capital, said police. The statement came as it emerged that police have been given secret new shoot-to-kill guidelines in recent weeks. The dead man was named as Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year old electrician from Brazil. Mr Menezes, who lived in Brixton, south London, had been working legally in Britain for three years. This is a tragedy. The Metropolitan Police accepts full responsibility for this. To the family I can only express my deep regrets, Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, told Sky News on Sunday. The shooting happened in Stockwell on Friday morning when armed plain clothes police officers shot a man as he tried to board a train at the Underground station. He had emerged from a house under surveillance following Thursday’s attempted bomb attacks on three Tube trains and a bus. New shoot-to-kill guidelines for armed police and surveillance officers confronting suspected suicide terrorists advise them to shoot to the head and not the body in case the suspect has a bomb. Sir Ian on Sunday admitted the police had a shoot-to-kill policy to deal with suicide bombers and that it would continue. Somebody else could be shot. But everything is done to make it right,” he said. Friday morning’s shooting at Stockwell came as the hunt continued for terrorists behind bomb attacks that have killed more than 50 people. Over the weekend police questioned two men arrested in connection with the attacks. The admission by the police that the dead man was not connected to the terror attacks will stoke debate over counter-terrorism tactics and the implication that police were operating a so-called shoot-to-kill policy against suspected terrorists. On Friday night the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission called for a public enquiry into the shooting in Stockwell. This is an extra-judicial killing by police who have been trained in shoot-to-kill, it said. The police now face inquiries into their actions that could hit morale, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the Stockwell shooting. Sir Ian said the force was confronting what he called its greatest operational challenge ever. They faced previously unknown threats and great danger, he added as he appealed for the understanding of all communities. Sir Ian said the dead man had been challenged and refused to obey police instructions. Police raided at least three addresses in London on Friday and made two arrests. Police Issue Pictures Of Four Bomb Suspects Police released closed circuit TV pictures of the four suspects and sought public assistance as forensic work continued on what appeared to be home-made explosive devices used on Thursday. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said on Friday night a special project group had developed operational tactics to help police respond swiftly and effectively to such threats. The guidelines were secretly developed in consultation with police forces including Israel, Russia and the US.
By Jeff Edwards SCOTLAND Yard has tried to prosecute hate preachers 20 times in the past two years but only succeeded once, Britain’s top policeman revealed yesterday. But on the same day controversial Muslim cleric Sheikh Omar Bakri said the Government and public share some of the blame for the July 7 terror attacks. Met chief Sir Ian Blair went on to criticise inadequate laws – and said it showed why tougher ones were needed, such as a new offence of praising terror atrocities. He said: “We have got to find effective new legal means of dealing with people glorifying terrorism and encouraging youngsters to carry out the sort of shocking atrocities we have just witnessed. We have got to find new ways to prevent and investigate terrorism.” Sir Ian added: “On 20 occasions in the last couple of years we have put different pieces of evidence to the CPS – sometimes about the same people. Only once have we been able to cross the boundary of incitement to murder.” He went on: “You cannot commit a criminal offence that does not exist. That is why we need a new offence. ‘Glorifying terrorism’ would do very well.” And the Met chief said it was vital police liaised closely with Britain’s Islamic leaders to “identify and stop vulnerable young men and women being drawn into terrorism”. Mr Bakri, a Syrian-born father of seven, said: “I blame the British Government, the British public and the Muslim community in the UK because they failed to make the extra effort to put an end to the cycle of bloodshed which started before 9/11 and on July 7 was devastating for everybody.” He condemned the July 7 attacks but said it was not enough to blame the four suicide bombers for what had happened. Meanwhile a British fanatical Islamic leader yesterday described those killed in the Tube and bus bombings as “specific targets against a specific nation”. Anjem Choudary, leader of the disbanded Al Muhajiroun, refused to condemn the 7/7 atrocities. Instead he blamed the British people for re-electing Tony Blair and his “lackeys” in mainstream Muslim groups. The parents of a New Zealand woman killed in the blasts paid tribute to her at a London service yesterday. Kathryn Gilkison – who flew to the capital after daughter Shelley Mather, 26, died in the King’s Cross Tube blast – described her as a “beautiful and vibrant young woman”. And a vicar whose daughter was also killed was given free rides by two taxi drivers as she travelled to London to mourn. Rev Julie Nicholson – whose daughter Jenny, 24, died at Edgware Road – had been heading to St Paul’s Cathedral with Jenny’s boyfriend James, 26, to observe the two-minute silence. CIRCLE Line Tube services should be running normally within two weeks, London Underground chiefs said yesterday. Full services should run on the Metropolitan line and Hammersmith and City lines from Monday.