Insult is added to injury when the Met can only be prosecuted under health and safety law. It is necessary at times for the Police to shoot to kill. You don't even need to go as far as terrorism, but look at a hostage situation for justification for shooting to incapacitate or kill; it can be justified. There are surely counts of incompetence and deception that could be levelled against the Met.

However, if shoot-to-kill is to be approved, it must be as a last resort and with all efforts made to reduce the likelihood of its being necessary. Allowing a suspected terrorist - one so dangerous that you must kill them on the tube - to board a bus is surely not a ringing endorsement of the police's actions; nor is the litany of statements that were later retracted or proved false about the precise circumstances in which de Menezes was shot.

Kratos, a policy of shoot-to-kill where someone is merely suspected of being a terrorist, does require the executive agency to do all it can (and not just follow Health and Safety law) to prevent a situation such as Stockwell arriving by early intervention and proper surveillance. Resourcing may well be an issue here.

In any case, Kratos does not work for suicide bombers. If a suicide bomber's intended target is, say, a Tube station, they'd prefer for the bomb to go off there. However, they would prefer the bomb to go off rather than not go off; it can still cause some damage and has similar effects of creating terror. If someone is capable of making, designing and detonating a bomb, they can probably make a dead man's switch. The policy, meanwhile, means that suspiscion is enough to kill, coupled with a lack of clear evidence, following of procedure and the apparent confusion based on de Menezes' skin colour.

Time to revisit the policy.


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