1 Nov 2007

JCDM Verdict?

BBC: London's Metropolitan police force has been found guilty of endangering the public over the fatal shooting of a man officers mistook for a suicide bomber. As expected, the media is teaming with viewpoint and comment, good and bad about today's verdict. The court found the force guilty of breaking health and safety laws when officers pursued Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes and shot him seven times. It was fined £175,000 with £385,000 costs over the 22 July 2005 shooting. Reaction to the verdict by various prominent individuals was divided over the implications for the force. Public opinion in the BBC Have Your Say forum was also divided.
The BBC (like other media sources), have produced their own 'in depth' Death of Jean Charles de Menezes assessment of what happened and why (in their opinion). One of those respondents in the BBC forum said; "It's all very well to pontificate in hindsight--rather different to have to make decisions" and that is one of the major factors in this tragic episode.
Does anyone ever stop to consider the feelings and emotions of those police officers who pulled the triggers. Imagine for one moment being in that position yourself, a split second between his (JCDM) death and yours, not to mention countless others. Damned if you do and damned if you don't, knowing that whatever you do your whole life will be ripped apart for months or years after, whilst every official (and often none official) enquiry takes place. Considered to be guilty in the public eye until proven innocent, unlike the basic rights of every other member of society.
Thankfully the court has found that non of those officers physically involved acted incorrectly, despite poor briefings and the failings of their commanders! No doubt these will be aired again in the forthcoming IPCC report however, now the dust of the media circus and public opinion is starting to settle, the most important thing is to make sure the lessons are learnt and failures are not repeated.


Annette said...

The court made a terrible decision and Sir Ian Blair and/or Cressida Dicks should not resign.

af said...

Im fully behind the officers on this, top down. I hope this doesnt mean SO19 and others are hampered in the same way our military has been when in the line of fire. London was the front line that day. The officers making decisions and on the ground were brave beyond belief. This should only be about making sure it doesnt happen again and not about a witch hunt. That said I wouldnt care too much if Blair resigned. If only because he should have been in complete control that day and aware of what was going on when he wasnt. Im fed up with the way the police have been vilified and had more news paper pages dedicated to them than the terrorists who placed us in that awful situation that day. As a Londoner i want to know police can and will act. When i read about the officers in tears at court I felt so bad for them. My sympathy has waned for the family since they hooked up with George Galloways comrades and that vile lawyer who gets terrorists off. And since his home town in Brazil strung a banner across the road saying Jean Charles had been killed by British terrorist police. In their own country police murder young men and children for no more than loitering every single day and no such attention is given to the cases, much less compensation and public sympathy. I say this as someone who is married to a Brazilian living in London approximately the same age as JCdMenezes was. It could well have been him. My husband hates the terrorists and holds them to account. As do i. Thye should have had murder charges thrown at them. Instead weve have given them something to laugh about.

Thank you to the police forces who put their lives on the line. One officer grabbed and struggled with a man he thought was a human bomb. The others got on the train and risked being blown up. No thought for themselves at all. Society in this country doesnt deserve them.

Policing - Could you?