August 20, 2005

London police maintain “shoot-to-kill” policy

By Tim Castle

LONDON (Reuters) - London's police force has reviewed its
controversial "shoot-to-kill" policy and left it largely
unchanged despite the killing of a Brazilian mistaken for a
would-be suicide bomber, Scotland Yard said on Saturday.

"We have reviewed it and we have made one or two small
changes, but the operation remains essentially the same," a
Metropolitan police spokeswoman told Reuters.

The spokeswoman declined to detail the changes, but London
police chief Ian Blair said officers would continue to use
deadly force to stop possible terror attacks.

"The methods that were used appeared to be the least worst
option (for tackling suicide bombers) ... we still have the
procedure in use," he told the Daily Mail.

A spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers,
which issues the shoot-to-kill guidance, codenamed "Operation
Kratos," said the overall policy was unaffected.

"They are going to make changes operationally, but they are
not in a position to change the guidance. We are not changing
it," she said.

Operation Kratos outlines what level of force officers can
use to thwart what police call a "deadly and determined

Public awareness of the policy only emerged after police
shot Jean Charles de Menezes eight times at point blank range
as he boarded an underground train on July 22, the day after
four bombs failed to explode on the London's transport system.

De Menezes's family has called for Blair to resign.

Len Duval, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority,
which oversees policing in London, said there was a growing
consensus for a public inquiry into the policy but it was a
decision for the government.

"If greater oversight of operations provides public
reassurance then that can only be a good thing," he told the
Independent newspaper.

"But I urge caution ... The issue of suicide bombers is not
going away and there needs to be an effective way of dealing
with this threat."

At the time of the incident Blair said de Menezes was under
surveillance as part of a manhunt to catch the four fleeing
bombers and had not respond to police challenges. The next day
Police admitted they had shot the wrong man and apologized.