Monday, July 25, 2005

The Stockwell tube shooting (contd)

The maintainers of the blog commented on my earlier article about this:

The Times reports that the innocent Brasilian Jean Charles de Menezes waited for, and caught a Number 2 Bus from near his home too Stockwell Tube Station, and was "under surveillance" for more than 20 minutes.

Do the Operation Kratos "rules of engagement" value the lives of Bus passengers less than those of Tibe passengers ?

Why was this alleged suicide bomber allowed to board a Bus ? If he was not considered to be a "threat to life" on the Bus, then why was he considered to be one before he got to a Tube train ?
These are indeed important questions. If the police considered Mr Menezes to be a suicide bomber in the process of carrying out an attack then surely they should have stopped him before he got on the bus, or even as soon as he left his house? It is possible of course that it wasn't until after he got off the bus that the police thought he might be a suicide bomber, but this is a vital question and demands an answer.

There is also the question of whether the police did enough to identify themselves as police when they challenged Mr Menezes. The eyewitness accounts suggest they did not shout "police" or "armed police". This might be a factor in explaining why Mr Menezes ran.

There plenty of questions that need answered here. I hope the inquiry will answer them and that if the police are found to be at fault then those responsible face the music and that procedures are altered if necessary.

Nevertheless, I think that shooting to kill someone who is in the process of carrying out a suicide bombing attack is the right policy (if there is no safe alternative). And where possible we should try and stop these people before they set out to blow themselves up in crowded areas.

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