(UK) police officers down tools


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Mk VII
November 2, 2004, 03:11 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/gun/Story/0,2763,1341499,00.html
At least 20 members of the Metropolitan police's elite firearms unit are refusing to carry their weapons in protest at the suspension of two colleagues over the death of a man carrying a table leg which they mistook for a shotgun. A further 100 members of the SO19 unit, the Metropolitan police's specialist armed response service, have said they want to temporarily withdraw themselves from firearms duty after Scotland Yard suspended Inspector Neil Sharman and PC Kevin Fagan. The pair could face criminal charges after a second inquest into the death of Harry Stanley last week returned a verdict of unlawful killing five years after his death.
The prospect of a quarter of the officers in SO19 striking over the case has led to two crisis meetings in the 400-strong unit. SO19 sources said those who do withdraw will still turn up for work to perform other duties but will not carry weapons. "More than 100 have now indicated they are not prepared to carry on at the moment until they review their position," said a source. "They are bitterly disappointed at the way the two officers have been treated and they feel unsupported." At the inquest, which ended last Friday, the Stanley family argued that the two firearms officers were not truthful in their account of what happened when they challenged the 46-year-old in September 1999 near his east London home. The jury rejected the two officers' claim they believed Stanley posed an imminent threat to their lives when they shot him.
Spokesman for Scotland Yard last night insisted the strike action had not affected the Met's armed coverage of the capital and said that SO19 officers were all volunteers and could stand down whenever they wished.” It is only to be expected that firearms officers, who carry out some of the most dangerous and demanding of policing duties, should now feel especially vulnerable," he said. "We are doing our utmost to provide support and reassurance to these officers and are listening carefully to the issues they raise." Glen Smyth, the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the suspension of the two officers had provoked "anger and disquiet" among their colleagues. "All firearms officers are now asking them selves if they, too, will be abandoned by the Met should they have the misfortune to find themselves in similar circumstances to those officers who are currently suspended, even if they were to act fully in accordance with their training," he said. "Their current action is, they feel, the only way they can make their voice heard." The armed officers, one of whom has since been promoted, claimed that Stanley reacted to their shouted warning of "Stop! Armed police" by turning round and raising the object he was carrying upwards, as if about to fire a gun. They had been sent in search of a suspect after a man in a pub where Stanley had been drinking rang police to say an Irishman had left the pub carrying a gun.
At the inquest, Tim Owens QC accused the officers of having "concocted" their claims that Stanley had turned round fully to face them and had raised the table leg believed by the police to have been a gun as if to fire. The family argued that ballistics evidence showed that the officers' account could not be true, a claim ultimately believed by the inquest jury. Daniel Machover, solicitor for Stanley's family, said: "Nobody is criticising the two firearms officers for believing it was a gun. "The key question is when they challenged him what happened. Their account that he posed a threat to their lives was disbelieved by the jury."

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Zedicus
November 2, 2004, 04:06 PM
the death of a man carrying a table leg which they mistook for a shotgun.

They are Just NOW Investigating that?????:what: :scrutiny:

That Happened YEARS ago!:scrutiny:

I'll look up the Exact Date...:uhoh:

Zedicus
November 2, 2004, 04:12 PM
It happened on September 22 1999:scrutiny:

Here's a Times Article on it.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1335710,00.html

5 years ago!!!:banghead: :barf:

White Horseradish
November 2, 2004, 04:19 PM
This says it's the second inquest. What happened to the first one? Why is there a second one?

Mk VII
November 2, 2004, 05:11 PM
the family managed, after a great deal of trouble, to get the first inquest verdict overturned and a new one ordered.

White Horseradish
November 2, 2004, 06:34 PM
That's not right. Is double jeopardy allowed under British law?

Iain
November 2, 2004, 07:30 PM
It was an inquest, not a trial.

It did happen a while ago, but as was said above this was the second inquest. Posts I have read on the bbc have been largely supportive of the police.

Zedicus, at some point your hatred for this country in which you live is going to cause you some form of aneurysm. I'm worried for your health.

Standing Wolf
November 2, 2004, 07:32 PM
Is double jeopardy allowed under British law?

It is now. England apparently wants to be the next East Germany.

White Horseradish
November 2, 2004, 08:20 PM
It was an inquest, not a trial.

What's the difference?

And, even if it is not a trial, why would they hold a second one?

Iain
November 2, 2004, 09:09 PM
An inquest is a coroners investigation into a death. They are usually held after an unusual death, like a suicide or a sudden death. The officers are not being held as gulty as a result of this, but the death has been ruled unlwful so further investigation will occur.

Standing Wolf,

double jeopardy was abolished although there were prerequisites, like new evidence being needed. This kind of legal reform has its opponents over here.

agricola
November 3, 2004, 01:01 AM
Also, despite the spin on this, this is not about a protest at the second inquest verdict; its about the Metropolitan Police's decision to suspend the two officers for the second time, awaiting another decision of the CPS as to whether to charge the officers.

Basically for most training in the Met, once gets a little ticket (one for driving, one for shooting, one for public order training etc). The Met cannot order to you to do anything - because the individual officer has to justify his or her actions - and so they cannot discipline anyone for handing their "tickets" in.

White Horseradish
November 3, 2004, 09:47 AM
Ok. So this is merely an investigation. Still, if they had one that was concluded, why are they holding a second one?

agricola
November 3, 2004, 10:40 AM
because political forces told them to.

Old Fuff
November 3, 2004, 10:44 AM
agricola:

Has this become a Labor vs. Tory issue, or is it something else?

agricola
November 3, 2004, 01:34 PM
More like a conflict between the workforce and the management.

As I said in my post, the problem is not so much the second Inquest verdict, but rather the suspension which does not appear to be justified by any subsequent investigation. The officers are back at work after the Commissioner met with the suspended officers and apparently promised support and a review of the suspension - which probably means it will be lifted.

I should add that after every Police shooting in this country, the officers are immediately suspended (on pay, usually this means range duty or administrative tasks) and a very thorough investigation carried out, which will last for between six months minimum and two years. The case will also be treated as a murder / attempted murder by the CPS.

There is also a great deal of media ignorance about the issue of police shootings generally. Below are some links from the media about a shooting from a couple of years back near where I live:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1484334.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2212064.stm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,921857,00.html

Bennett was shot after numerous calls to the police that a man was running around an estate with a gun. As police arrived, he grabbed a workman, held the gun to his head and issued threats. The workman managed to struggle free, Bennett turned and one officer shot at Bennett six times, hitting him with four shots. It later turned out that this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1440000/images/_1442869_gun150.jpg

was a cigarette lighter - and amazingly was reported by the Evening Standard as "a cigarette lighter" (no "gun shaped"). The sad thing about this is the only paper that has printed the facts is the Sun, which on any other issue is worthless.

Coronach
November 3, 2004, 01:48 PM
Sounds like your media is just as good as ours!

Also, the differences between an investigation and a prosecution are, among others:

1. Investigations are administrative procedures. They can result in you being fired, disciplined, suspended, etc, from your job, and possibly sued.

2. Prosecutions are legal actions aimed at depriving one of life and liberty.

3. Double jeopardy, which applies to issues of life and liberty (in the US, at least), would apply to prosecutions, not investigations.

Also, not knowing the facts on the ground, I'm somewhat amused at something. If the cops shoot a guy for holding a table leg in Britain and a second investigation into the incident is opened, THR posters will start ranting that its the anti-gun limeys being a bunch of socialists. If the cops shoot a guy for holding a table leg in the USA, the police would be a bunch of jack booted thugs who should be tried for murder, probably.

Just an observation based upon general trends, not the specific facts of this case.

Mike ;)

Mk VII
November 3, 2004, 02:21 PM
The Coroner’s inquest is held in cases of sudden or unnatural death. Its function is to ask:-
Who died?
When ?
Where ?
How ?
The coroner may or may not empanel a jury, and he will normally indicate what range of verdicts he is prepared to accept, ranging from ‘unlawful killing’ to ‘misadventure’, ‘natural causes’, ‘suicide’, ‘died on active service’, or ‘open’ where the jury cannot determine responsibility for the death. Coroners are usually medical men, rather than detectives and have no police powers. The vast majority of inquests are uncontroversial things which have to be held even though there is unlikely to have been foul play. At one time, before the emergence of organised police forces, the Coroner’s inquest was the nearest thing to judicial investigation of a sudden death that the relatives were likely to get. Nowadays it is less important and in cases where prosecution of individuals is contemplated it is normally postponed (or, formally, opened and adjourned) until the trial is over.
There is currently a plan to reform and improve the working of the Coroner’s office following several cases (notably Dr. Shipman’s multiple murders) where the inquest failed to do a satisfactory job.

Old Fuff
November 3, 2004, 02:23 PM
agricola:

>> Bennett was shot after numerous calls to the police that a man was running around an estate with a gun. As police arrived, he grabbed a workman, held the gun to his head and issued threats. The workman managed to struggle free, Bennett turned and one officer shot at Bennett six times, hitting him with four shots. <<

In the United States - at least where I live in Arizona - the apparently unchallenged facts that he took a hostage and held him while displaying what a “reasonable person” would conclude was a gun, and issued threats, would have provided sufficient justification for an officer to shoot if that person ignored the officer’s orders to “drop the weapon,” but I am presuming that the officers issued such orders. If new or additional evidence is lacking it would seem to me that the original investigation came to a correct finding, and other then the “political considerations” you alluded to, would think that the officers involved shouldn’t be further harassed. The matter is unfortunate any way you cut it, and I can see how an officer in the U.K. might well be leery of taking on the responsibility of being armed.

agricola
November 3, 2004, 02:51 PM
old fuff,

sorry for not making it clearer, but the Bennett shooting is different from the one that MK VII is referring to (but the Bennett inquest is looming)

dav
November 3, 2004, 05:16 PM
So far this thread has concentrated on the 2nd inquest.

I want to know why a gun in the hand of a policeman is a "tool", but a gun in the hands of a non-policeman is an "assault weapon" or "weapon of mass destruction"?

Brian Dale
November 4, 2004, 02:51 AM
Dav, that's because you live in, as you say, the PRK. I'm not gloating; I'm commisserating. I used to live there.

Back on topic:"Nobody is criticising the two firearms officers for believing it was a gun. "The key question is when they challenged him what happened. Their account that he posed a threat to their lives was disbelieved by the jury." Ouch. and Ouch. I've heard that "you never can tell what a jury's going to do." Ouch.

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