Sunday, July 24, 2005

London Police Arrest Third Suspect

Three nabbed in last week's failed bombing so far. AP has the story. Here's a portion:
British police arrested a third man in connection with last week's failed attack against London's transit system and said Sunday they were trying to penetrate what they suspect is an al-Qaida network behind the plot.

Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair expressed deep regret to the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician shot dead by police on the subway Friday after he was mistaken for a terrorist. Blair called the killing a "tragedy," but defended officers' right to use deadly force against suspected terrorists.

The latest arrest was made Saturday in an area near London's southern Stockwell neighborhood, Tulse Hill, where Menezes had lived and near the subway station where he was killed. The man was arrested "on suspicion of the commission, instigation or preparation of acts of terrorism," said a police spokeswoman on customary condition of anonymity.

Police are still holding two men arrested in Stockwell on Friday, Blair said. None of their identities have been released.
BBC News has this profile of British Armed Police:
Most police forces in the UK supply their firearms units with rules of engagement based on guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo).

These state that they:

# Must identify themselves and declare intent to fire (unless this risks serious harm).

# Should aim for the biggest target (the torso) to incapacitate and for greater accuracy.

# Should reassess the situation after each shot.
After the suicide bomb attacks in London on 7 July it is thought the Met's Anti-Terrorist Branch implemented its own pre-arranged response to suicide bombers, based on Acpo advice.

Codenamed Operation Kratos, and based on the experiences of the Israeli security forces, the guidance reportedly states that an officer can shoot a suspect in the head if it is thought he is a suicide bomber who poses an imminent danger to police or the public.

Eyewitnesses at Stockwell station on Friday said they saw police officers fire five shots into the head of the suspect.

If Operation Kratos is being used, it would be the first time a shoot-to-kill policy was officially allowed on British streets.
The terrorists have forced British police to commit a terrible triage. On the one hand, no suspect should ever be executed before he's found guilty of a capital crime. On the other hand, the police can't allow a potential suicide bomber to murder innocent civilians. Body shots are not an option. They could ignite the explosives that the suicide bomber has fastened to himself. Metropolitan armed police made a tragic mistake in killing Jean Charles de Menezes. I doubt it will be their last mistake.