I have to admit I was more surprised than I should have been when I saw this:
It was, apparently, US politician Rahm Emanuel who said “never allow a good crisis to go to waste when it’s an opportunity to do things that you had never considered, or that you didn’t think were possible.”
So we should not be surprised that police chiefs are cynically exploiting the terrorist massacre in Paris to make a grab for power that would never before have been considered possible.
I’m sure it’s entirely co-incidental that 3 days ago, the policeman who shot and killed a trivial hoodlum in suspicious circumstances was arrested. But terrorism will be the cover under which senior officers will claim to need the ability to shoot people with impunity, and you can be in little doubt that they’ll receive a sympathetic hearing from sociopathic zombie cosplayer and Home Secretary, Theresa May.
Before I continue, let me put it to you that, in the fight against terrorism and gangland crime, the police are not hampered by the awkward legal implications of going round killing people, so much as by the pernicious consequences of the MacPherson report, and its outcomes, namely political correctness, affirmative action and undue deference to “minority” communities that have carte blanche to harbour criminals and terrorists.
So I propose giving the police immunity not from charges over deaths, but from charges of racism and Islamophobia, because I put it to you that these are the far greater impediments to police ability to tackle black gang crime and Islamic terrorists. Cutting through these would have a far more profound and useful effect than giving coppers a freer reign to shoot people than they already obviously have.
I can think of a whole raft of reasons why allowing the police impunity to shoot people without fear of legal ramifications should never be allowed to happen.
The first – and this point should be blindingly obvious – is that if the police are less likely to face legal consequences, they will be more likely to shoot people in ambiguous circumstances, and are thus more likely to kill people who should not have been shot at all.
The second is that we can see from the example of America what happens when the police are widely armed and granted a degree of impunity – the consequences of this police militarisation are in direct contravention of the Peelian Principles upon which policing in Britain is founded.
The third is that, while in any body of men as large as the British police forces (circa 150,000) there are bound to be some who are intelligent, well balanced and committed to justice and integrity, there is plenty of evidence that there is a significant rump of thugs, bullies and psychologically ill-suited idiots, who you wouldn’t trust with a water pistol.
The fourth is that we already have plenty of examples of the police in the UK shooting people and, in plenty of those cases, getting it egregiously wrong and not suffering the just consequences of those actions, and just what becomes of those responsible.
Jean Charles De Menezes – outcome: promotions, medals and honours
The officer in command when innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes was shot to death at close quarters in a crowded tube train in 2005 was Cressida Dick. She was subsequently promoted to the position of Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police, and is now a big cheese in the Foreign Office. She was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service and a CBE. If she’s not in the house of Lords by 2020 I’ll bear my arse in Burtons’ window. The full story of how the police tried to smear de Menezes after his death, in order to deflect attention from their own egregious failings is breathtaking in its bare-faced audacity.
In July 2006, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which like the IPCC operates independently of the Met, announced that it would not carry forward any charges against any individual involved in the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner in his official capacity faced criminal charges under sections 3(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for "failing to provide for the health, safety and welfare of Jean Charles de Menezes". The decision not to prosecute individuals was made on the grounds of insufficient evidence. The family of Menezes appealed against the decisions of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service in the High Court.
The legal representatives of the Metropolitan Police Service on behalf of the office of the Commissioner pleaded not guilty to the charges, "after the most careful consideration". The trial started on 1 October 2007.
On 14 December 2006, Lord Justice Richards (Richards LJ) of the High Court, sitting with Mr Justice Forbes (Forbes J) and Mr Justice Mackay (Mackay J), unanimously rejected an application for a judicial review into the decision of the office of the DPP on behalf of the CPS to rule out criminal prosecutions of the individual police officers who shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes, ruling that "[I]t was a reasonable decision … on the basis that they were likely to fail".
On 1 November 2007, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in his official capacity was found guilty of the above offences, and his office was fined £175,000, together with £385,000 of legal costs. The Met published a terse release about this decision and Len Duvall, Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, asked that the full report on the investigation be published.
That Met Police Commissioner was ‘Sir’ Ian Blair.
Sir Ian Blair appeared on television on 24 July 2005 to accept responsibility for the error on the part of the Metropolitan Police, and to acknowledge and defend the "shoot to kill" policy, saying:
- "There is no point in shooting at someone’s chest because that is where the bomb is likely to be. There is no point in shooting anywhere else if they fall down and detonate it."
The Met’s commissioner Sir Ian Blair, and his predecessor Lord Stevens, had expressed concern about the legal position of police officers who might kill suspected suicide bombers. There is no explicit legal requirement for armed officers to warn a suspect before firing, although guidelines published by the Association of Chief Police Officers say that this "should be considered". A potential suicide bomber is thought to represent a circumstance where warning the suspect may put the public at greater risk because the bomber may detonate his explosives after being warned.
Aha! So, the appeal to the need to protect us from suicide bombers.. right.. and of course those would be the only circumstances in which such a thing could be considered possible.
“Sir” Ian Blair is now, by the way, “Baron Blair of Boughton” and, like Cressida Dick, is a holder of the Queen’s Police Medal.
Stephen Waldorf – outcome: police cleared of all charges, medals and honours for the Commissioner
In 1983, Stephen Waldorf was shot & severely injured in another case of mistaken identity.
Detectives Jardine and Finch stood trial for attempted murder and attempted wounding of Waldorf, but were cleared of all charges in October 1983.
The Met Police Commissioner in 1983 was “Sir” Kenneth Newman. Another holder of the Queen’s Police Medal. I think I see a pattern emerging.
James Ashley – outcome: officer who opened fire cleared of all charges, top brass found to have been corrupt. Chief Constable forced to resign.
James Ashley was a 39-year-old British man shot dead by armed police while unarmed and naked, during a raid on his Sussex flat in 1998
This is actually the first example I’ve used where the victim was a wrong’un, and one could argue that karma is a bitch, but the fact of the matter is the police were in the wrong and a man – who may or may not have had justice coming to him after due process – was summarily killed..
Harry Stanley – outcome: officers faced no charges, inquest recorded an open verdict. No resignations. Chief officer ennobled.
On 22 September 1999, he was returning home from the Alexandra Pub in South Hackney carrying, in a plastic bag, a table leg that had been repaired by his brother earlier that day. Someone had phoned the police to report "an Irishman with a gun wrapped in a bag".
As well as carrying a table leg, and not a gun, he was Scottish, not Irish. Think about this. Someone who wants you gone can just pick up the phone to the cops and make such a claim, which will be taken at face value and acted upon with deadly force and without hesitation.
The name of the high court judge who, at appeal overturned an earlier verdict of unlawful killing, might be familiar to you. He was one Mr Justice Leveson.
The Commissioner of the Met Police at the time of the shooting was “Sir” Paul Condon and you’ll be unsurprised to hear that he’s another holder of the QPM, and is now Baron Condon.
Some other incidents at random:
On 24 August 1985 John Shorthouse aged 5 was shot dead in a police raid on his home in Birmingham. PC Brian Chester, a family man and highly commended officer, was later cleared of any wrongdoing.
On 30 April 2005, Azelle Rodney, from London, was shot dead by armed officers of the Metropolitan Police. In August 2007, coroner Andrew Walker, sitting at Hornsey North London, said that a full inquest into Rodney’s death could not be held because of the large number of redactions in police officers’ statements. In July 2013 a judicial inquiry found that the Authorised Firearms Officer who fired the fatal shots had "no lawful justification" for opening fire. On 30 July 2014 the CPS announced that they had made the decision to charge the officer with murder. On 3 July 2015 the officer was cleared by a jury.
On 3 March 2012, Anthony Grainger was shot dead in Cheshire by an armed Greater Manchester Police officer whilst sitting in a stolen car. Grainger was unarmed at the time of the shooting. Chief Constable “Sir” Peter Fahy (another QPM and who was knighted 3 months after this incident) was charged under health and safety legislation over the shooting.
However, in January 2015, William Boyce QC, at Liverpool Crown Court accepted an ‘abuse of process‘ argument from the defence, who had argued that evidence which needed to be disclosed in open court in order for the defendant (Fahy) to have a fair trial would not be in the public interest and it would prejudice future Greater Manchester Police operations.
The CPS had no choice but to accept the judge’s decision and drop the case against the Greater Manchester Police.
And let us not forget that those half-witted wooly suits who have been let loose with a Taser could easily graduate to a proper gun at any time.