Friday, 10 October 2008

Getting Their Retaliation In First….

Firearms officers will be banned from collaborating on their statements about fatal shootings, under new draft guidelines being drawn up by police chiefs.

The Daily Telegraph understands that draft rules for the official police manual are expected to stop marksmen from writing their statements together after critical incidents – changing a practice accepted through case law for more than 50 years.
Hmmm, this suggests they aren’t too confident about the prospects of the family of gun-wielding barrister Mark Saunders losing their High Court challenge to the practice then, and are looking to head off bad PR at the pass:
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) is in the "final stages" of drafting the proposals, which are due to be introduced pending a High Court ruling today relating to the shooting of Mark Saunders at his London home in May.

The family of Mr Saunders, a barrister, launched a judicial review, claiming that the practice of conferring meant that police evidence was "tainted" and could lead to deliberate collusion between officers to distort accounts of events.

Mr Justice Underhill is expected to comment on the practice, and rule specifically whether it is unlawful under European human rights laws.
Expect to see some rumblings over this, with the more militant threatening to hand in their firearms tickets, just as they did last time they faced criticism over the death of an innocent man.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has previously condemned collaborating as "unacceptable" after the shootings of Harry Stanley in east London in 1999 and Jean Charles de Menezes in south London in 2005. It said such sharing of evidence was "likely to undermine public confidence in the police".
Indeed it has. And the De Menezes inquest details so far haven’t changed that, except to undermine it further..
It is understood that under the new Acpo directions, in the Manual of Guidance on the Police Use of Firearms, officers will be able to confer during and after shootings, for "sound" operational reasons.

However they will be obliged to write up their first account and subsequent statements about an incident individually.
Next move to the police unions. It’ll be interesting to see where they go…


Mark Wadsworth said...

They were just making a modest start on the sensible programme of killing all the lawyers.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"undermine [the hitherto copper-bottomed] confidence in the police..."

Police and lawyers. In the streets, ooh yeah. As Dr Johnson said, there is no setting the precedence between a louse and a flea.

Anonymous said...

"just as they did last time they faced criticism over the death of an innocent man"

Though Saunders wasn't innocent of course.

Anonymous said...

He wasn't, no, but I suspect an aspect of the inquest/inquiry will factor on whether he presented a danger at the time he was shot.

The news has just come in that the family have lost their bid, but plan to appeal. Be interesting to see where ACPO go now with their proposed guidelines...