Britain’s Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, seen here in 2007, told the inquest into the police shooting of the innocent Jean Charles de Menezes that British police could shoot dead another innocent person because of the “high risk” of anti-terror operations. (AFP/POOL/File/Stephen Hird)
AP | Oct 7, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — British police could shoot dead another innocent person because of the “high risk” of anti-terror operations, a police commander said Tuesday, at the inquest into the shock killing of an innocent Brazilian.
Cressida Dick, deputy assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, told the inquest into the police shooting of the innocent Jean Charles de Menezes that police always attempted to reduce the risk to the public.
But she admitted the risk could be minimised by a “less than perfect extent” when suspected suicide bombers were on the run, making possible a recurrence of the events that led to the shooting of de Menezes.
De Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head at Stockwell Tube station on July 22, 2005 after being mistaken for Hussain Osman, who had unsuccessfully tried to detonate a suicide bomb in a train the day before.
Dick was in charge of the control room coordinating the pursuit of the Brazilian electrician by surveillance and firearms officers who mistook him for Osman.
Watched by the victim’s mother Maria Otone in the court, Dick was asked by the family’s lawyer Michael Mansfield if the fatal shooting was a one-off.
She said: “I’m afraid, sir, I do believe that this or something like this could happen again.
“The nature of these operations is that they are incredibly high risk to all concerned.
“And that is because of the nature of the threat that we face from suicide terrorists, and the difficulty that there is in dealing with such a threat and the very fast timescale in which these things can happen.
“Our job is to reduce the risk to everybody as best as we possibly can all the time… but I do fear that in the future a bomber might not be prevented from setting a bomb, and there would be a huge scrutiny of why we did not manage to prevent that.
“Our job is to minimise the risks. Given the huge scale of the risks, we may only be able to do that to a less than perfect extent.”