View Full Version : Firearms Officers refusing to carry out duty

2nd Nov 2004, 17:25
More than 120 firearms officers in London are refusing to carry guns after two colleagues were suspended over a shooting, police representatives claim. Tonight on BBC News.

Can they do this? What about the Army lads serving in Iraq, One soldier is currently under going a murder charge. If the Army refused to carry guns they would no doubt be charged with mutiny. This country gets crazier by day.

2nd Nov 2004, 17:46
What a bunch of losers these guys are! Two of their colleagues shot an old guy carrying a table leg in a plastic bag. Obviously totally over the top and totally unjustified. Result: Oooh! Let's all come out in sympathy with incompetent twats! They should've been dismissed, not suspended.

2nd Nov 2004, 17:59
Really? Interestingly, if they had let some nutter shoot an innocent civilian, we'd all be here saying "These incompentent luvvies should be more decisive"

Retrospect is a wonderful thing isn't it?

2nd Nov 2004, 18:00
and if it had been a gun and they didn't take him down and he killed someone, what then?

i don't know the ins and outs of this story, if the officers involved were deemed to have used excessive force then rightly they should be suspended or even dismissed. unfortunately it's a very tough job they have to do, and if you put yourself in their shoes, facing someone who is reported to perhaps be carrying a gun and forces them into a position where they could be at risk of being fatally wounded, would you like to wait and find out? the armed police aren't there to take bullets for people.

what were the circumstances behind him getting shot? was he asked to put the bag down and lie on the ground? and did he do it straight away?

im not sure whether or not armed officers are allowed to refuse to carry arms. technically they are not striking from their roles as police officers because they can pound the beat like a regular bobby without a gun.

West Coast
2nd Nov 2004, 18:00
Easy to second guess they guys keeping you safe.

Can a link to the actual story be posted by someone?

2nd Nov 2004, 18:01
here you go (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/3973261.stm)

2nd Nov 2004, 18:05
Apparently the "victim" was holding the leg in a bag as though it were a sawnoff shotgun waving it around and shouting " Come near me and I will blow you away!" or the like. A bit irrational once the police arrive with guns. Still we cannot have members of the public having their rights to act like complete idiots infringed can we.
I now understand why american police use a throwdown in situations like this. (This is where they drop a real weapon at the scene if things go wrong)
Remember that young soldier name of Clegg as I recall. Got 15 years in prison when he was found to have shot someone who was running a road block. 10 years later they found it was not him who fired the shot. A mate of mine was in Ireland in the 70s. He was ordered to open fire on some guys transfering guns to a truck. He put a full clip into an earth bank to be sure of not getting a murder charge.

2nd Nov 2004, 18:12
Apparently one of the officers that shot Mr Stanley in the head is quoted to say that he had been aiming for his body the other shot hit Mr Stanley in the Hand. Surely this inacurate marksmanship should be enough to have the officers removed from SO19? Whether or not the two officers are guilty of anything will be found out in due course however in my opinion the behaviour of their fellow Met Officers is outrageous.

More information on the inquest so you may check the facts first:



West Coast
2nd Nov 2004, 18:12
Thanks for the link. It didn't really speak to the tactical situation the officers had to deal with. If its anything like bigflyingrob posted I am sympathetic to the police as they had to make a judgment in a short time frame.

2nd Nov 2004, 18:17
There are some links on the article listed to more tactical information.

2nd Nov 2004, 18:39
Oh - yeah - your hardline points have fully persuaded me in this matter. People carrying plastic bags should all be shot. It's got to be for the best surely?

Good luck with the Christmas shopping!

West Coast
2nd Nov 2004, 18:52
What if he was shouting madly at you, making threats and possibly concealing a weapon as the outline of a table leg in a bag might suggest?

simon brown
2nd Nov 2004, 19:00
IF this person was holding the chairleg wrapped in a plastic bag like a shot gun and IF he is reported as threatening to shoot people then the Police had every reason to put him down , not shoot him in the head. This smacks of very poor shooting, not the standards of marksmanship you expect of highly trained officers of SO19, therefore they are incompetent and should be treated as such.I reserve judgement as to whether they should go down for manslaughter...how often during the day would a copper check the sights on his weapon....did they become out of true resulting in the shooting in the head as opposed to the body..how far were they from the target etc etc etc

2nd Nov 2004, 19:00
Sadly it seems that normal Mr Plod, aint bright enough to recognise placci bags with wooden legs inside, next time your on your way home from the Offy with a sixpack of the Amber Nectar that could resemble a bomb, so if anyone shoutss at you drop to the ground straight away,..........or else last thing you'll hear is a high speed whooshing sound as a shell aimed at you body takes away part of your sensory area in your head,

But because it was thought you had a bomb, its all right. they go down to the Winchester Club, and you finnish up on a slab,

Fair, or what?


2nd Nov 2004, 19:14
was a member of the public who told the police he was armed. Not only that, they mistook his scotch accent for an irish one. The police were told he was an armed irishman.

2nd Nov 2004, 19:19
I thank you for the response. However my concern is not with the Officers involved but the similar predicament faced by our boys in Iraq. When I was in the Army our training on the range was "Shot to Kill". Yet today it seems that they must make sure that their life or their fellow soldiers is in danger before they open fire. It could be too late. They do not have the right to say they will not take part. So why have the police that rioht?

2nd Nov 2004, 19:19
I sympathise with the police marksmen.

I cannot understand how anyone brandishing what was quite possibly a concealed weapon and threatening to shoot armed policeman could expect to receive any other treatment.

A very difficult judgement call which was tragically wrong as it turned out.

Myself and my peers (I'm ex military) were trained that if ever we had cause to shoot, then to ensure that we did NOT try to wound, but to finish the job. Otherwise you are likely to become a victim yourself. Nasty business but that is how it is.

2nd Nov 2004, 19:38
What's the problem with a headshot?

Frankly if it comes times to draw weapons, and a guy brandishing something that looks like a weapon MAKING THREATS fits the bill, then put the bastard down, and permanently.

As long as no rounds found an innocent bystander, I have absolutely no problems with this cop's marksmanship, and anyone who does is frankly crazy, or watches too much TV and thinks the impossible is really possible.


West Coast
2nd Nov 2004, 19:40
"threatening to shoot people then the Police had every reason to put him down , not shoot him in the head. This smacks of very poor shooting, not the standards of marksmanship you expect of highly trained officers of SO19, therefore they are incompetent and should be treated as such"

I honestly don't know the answer, are the officers orders when using weapons to shoot to kill or to disable?

Not anyones opinion what the order should be, but what framework those officers had to work within that day.

The Nr Fairy
2nd Nov 2004, 19:57
Police officers volunteer to train for firearms.

Those taking the action are seeing the system - for good or bad - suspend their colleagues five years after an event which required split-second decision making.

So, they've handed in their authorisations rather than face the same situation of doing what they thought was best, and be slated for it - John Stevens made the point that five years is justice for no-one, families of the bereaved included.

And for those commenting on the lack or otherwise of marksmanship, if you have the same level of training and experience, feel free to proffer an opinion - if not, keep it to yourselves.

Solid Rust Twotter
2nd Nov 2004, 20:10
Was always taught to identify my target. Saves a lot of trouble in the long run. Circumstances can change suddenly and having to make decisions in a couple of seconds that then get debated and second guessed for hours in court makes for an interesting existence. Don't envy those at the sharp end...

Nr Fairy

You sound a bit peeved, chap. This is a rumour network after all and everyone is entitled to air an opinion within the ROE here. (Last I looked, anyway.)

2nd Nov 2004, 20:23
Looks like a "suicide by police".
More common in north america and much more effective than jumping in front of a bus.
Sad for the poor guy pulling the trigger when the threat level is re-evalluated at leisure after the event,Without the pressure of imminent danger to the public who they were trying to protect.

Mr Chips
2nd Nov 2004, 20:26
this is being discussed on another thread - funnily enough VFRPilot is slagging off the police there as well.

As for Spork your ramblings sound like a teenager in a bad mood

if either of you would like to offer any kind of back up to what you are saying.. well, frankly i would be amazed. feel free to make adult observations at any point

Armed police in the Met get no extra pay, and are therefore volunteers. As such, they can withdraw from armed duty at any point. they have done so. With comments like these, you don't really have to wonder why

2nd Nov 2004, 20:45
The judicial system is pretty keen on charging, trying and banging up all manner of people who make 'proffessional errors' eg. soldiers, railway bods,seafarers, aviators(?) so why should plods escape, if there are charges to answer.

2nd Nov 2004, 21:51
Mmm... Haven't been mistaken for a teenager in quite a while... I think the point here is that our firearms officers are often called to tricky situations where their professional judgement is important. Theyíre not simply trained in marksmanship; theyíre trained in assessing the situation and taking the right action. Anyone remember the incident with the London teenager (not me Mr Chips) who had an imitation firearm and the officer kicked the gun from his hand and they arrested him?

It can be done in a skilful manner, and often is. Armed forces training is rather different from police dealing with the public. Let's see - a Scotsman has spent a while in the pub. Maybe he's had a dram or two. He sets off for home and never gets there. I just feel itís unbelievable that without any sight of a weapon he is blown away. Before AND after this particular incident, our police have done much better than that many a time WITH THE SIGHT OF A WEAPON and still brought the situation to a close satisfactorily. Iím just amazed that so many of you are prepared to leap to their defence, as if this killing of an innocent man is acceptable.

ďif either of you would like to offer any kind of back up to what you are sayingĒ What back up is required on this? The media covered it more than adequately at the time, and now once again. What donít you understand about it? You donít agree with a different point of view expressed here? Well thatís just fine Ė thatís what polite discussion is all about.

ďfeel free to make adult observations at any pointĒ So the adult approach is what exactly? Cheap shots at people who donít agree with you?

2nd Nov 2004, 21:57
Um Spork,

We have VERY different views of what an innocent man is then.

If this same gentleman made those same threats that he carried out and caused a heartattack, he would actually be guilty of Murder.

Threatening a cop IS a crime. He was far from innoncent. You make it sound like this is some virgin that cops just ran up to and gunned down, and that is VERY far from the case.


2nd Nov 2004, 22:52
An inebriated Scotsman carrying a table leg deserved to die - of course. Our police normally (and frequently) handle incidents like this with no problem. We've never had a "shoot first ask questions later" policy.

3rd Nov 2004, 00:14
Not one of the descriptions given of this incident so far match what actually happened.

The victim had been at a party at a relative's house a day or two earlier and had accidentally broken a coffee table. He took the table leg away with him to get it repaired. On the day he was shot he had collected the repaired table leg and was walking home with the leg in a plastic bag. On the way, he stopped at a pub that he didn't usually use - although he was known in the neighbourhood. (British pubs can be very cliquey places) Asked what was in the bag, he jokingly replied that it was a sawn-off shotgun, what else did they think it was. Somebody took objection to this and phoned the police to report the presence in the pub, of a drunken Irishman armed with a sawn-off shotgun. After his unfriendly reception, the victim finished his one and only pint and left the pub - he was neither drunk nor Irish - and was walking down the road when the armed response team arrived on the scene. Having identified the victim as the subject of the report they called out to him from behind that they were armed police. The victim turned to see what was going on - there is no reason to believe that he understood that they were calling out to him in particular. As he saw the pistols pointed at him he began to raise his arms - still holding the plastic bag. At this point he was shot. The victim was recovering from cancer surgery, which made him clumsy. He walked awkwardly and had difficulty raising his arms much above waist height and maintaining his balance. The police seem to have mistaken his slow deliberate movements as threatening. He aso had a criminal record, although the police who shot him weren't aware of this at the time.

Unfortunate error of judgement? You decide, but this incident shows why we British generally don't like the idea of arming our police. When mistakes are made, innocent people get shot.

Now, please feel free to go back to the right-wing ranting.

3rd Nov 2004, 05:59
Whatever the rights or wrongs of the case it happened and as people say its easy to look back on things after they happened...

Seems strange that when the evidence and witnesses were fresh along with the press coverage the inquest left the verdict open. Now its all old and vague unlawful killing is decided...

Why is the caller not being charged with manslaughter(?) if the call to the police was malicious?

Also those who are claiming the officers should be suspended for inaccurate shooting, can I ask how many of you hold or have held firearms licences or are experienced shooters? If you get the chance watch a target shooter... how still they lay... how long they take to aquire the target... then try it standing/crouching/running/etc.

Shoot to disable? OK - nice idea but suppose the gunman goes down but is alive - what happens to the officers/public if the gunman makes it to the weapon again? The cry will be "they should have shot to kill" won't it?

Maybe the answer is to go down the lines of some of the US forces and use non lethal firearms?


3rd Nov 2004, 06:20
Mr Chips,

You sound like one of the Plod, pity really that you cannot see the angle of the point I am making, If any Policeman shoots some body who was not a threat to anyone, then he or she SHOULD Face the penalty, you obviously cannot see this from your elevated position of High Sheriff of where-ever,

The killing was judged as UNLAWFUL by a jury, that means MURDER, what else?


3rd Nov 2004, 06:44

No, The verdict of the jury does not mean its murder. Your comments are odd really as you advocated on another thread that you should be allowed to shoot burglars in your home, even if they are running away.

Still, its always easy to be the big I am when you have hours to debate the event.

A Police Officer cannot be ordered to carry a firearm, and if he does its his personel responsibility and decision to use it. Legaly there is protection for the officer under self defence or the defence of others. The SO19 officers feel that this protection has been erroded as a result of this decision.

The table leg was in a bag. Wrapped up and gave the apperence of being a firearm. A member of the public phoned 999 having THOUGHT he had seen a gun in the bag. He described the stock and trigger. No he wont be charged with anything, he did nothing wrong, apart from make a mistake.

Yes he was shot. Yes it was in the head. There is no such thing as shoot to disable, and frankly most Policemen are not paid enough to risk thier lives 'kicking' guns or what they think are guns from peoples hands. This is reality not a cowboy film.

Yes its sad that someone got killed. It seems that there a set of trgic circumstances that led to it, but it does not make the officers guilty of murder.

3rd Nov 2004, 07:16
There is one proposal for any police officer who shoots a civilian to be transfered to the Amercican air force and be given an F16. In this way he can specialise in taking out complete weddings rather than just individuals.
Just to put things in perspective there!

3rd Nov 2004, 07:21
Ahhhh, An Anti American Jab on a thread that had absolutely NOTHING to do with America. How original...:yuk: :yuk: :yuk:


3rd Nov 2004, 07:43
At what stage do you say that any unarmed person shot by the police was just unfortunate? Effectively giving carte blanche to shoot who they like?

It's interesting that for all the deaths caused by the police or in police custody, no one has ever ended up being found guilty - not even in the Stephen Waldorf case, or in the case of the 4 year old shot in bed by the police.

If you say that such deaths are rare but have to be accepted, you then have a parallel if you say that a death caused by dangerous or careless driving by a policeman answering an emergency call is also unfortunate. At what stage do you have them take responsibility for their actions?

A train driver passing a signal at danger and then being involved in a crash where people are killed may well face manslaughter charges - many have done so. A professional misjudgement leaves them at risk, so why not apply the same rules to a policeman?

Training Risky
3rd Nov 2004, 08:19
Its about time the police in this country were held accountable for their actions to the extent that HM Forces are.

For too long the 'justice' system has pounced on soldiers carrying weapons, doing their jobs, but were perceived to have stepped outside the Rules of Engagement (Lee Clegg and the recent case of the Trooper in Iraq come to mind.) (Whether Clegg should have actually faced charges is another matter).

A couple of years ago, armed police in Hastings broke into a drug-dealer's home and killed him, naked, as he was getting out of bed. I don't recall any prosecutions but the Chief Constable (Paul Whitehouse) resigned over the incident.

The police in this country have way too much power afforded to them while the armed forces are constantly harrassed over their conduct while operating in much more difficult conditions in Ulster and the wider world.

I believe the police are reaping the whirlwind over this...

Mr Chips
3rd Nov 2004, 08:29
Spork What a bunch of losers these guys are! Two of their colleagues shot an old guy carrying a table leg in a plastic bag. Obviously totally over the top and totally unjustified. Result: Oooh! Let's all come out in sympathy with incompetent twats! They should've been dismissed, not suspended
thatís what polite discussion is all about.

Mr (?) Spork, it is interesting to see the difference in your posts, and what you are trying to say. You suggest that I am having a pop at you because I don't agree with you... hardly. I refer to your first post on this subject. You call the police " bunch of losers" and "incompetent twats". YOou have decided from your point of view that the shooting (investigated by another police force) was "obviously totally over the top"

This is hardly rational, well thought out or "polite discussion"

Wsa this situation badly handled? Quite possibly, but i wasn't there, and you weren't there. Personally, I have never had to shout warnings to a man I am convinced is carrying a shotgun.

To dismiss the Police in the way that you did is what i called into question. I still think that your first post was juvenile and ill thought out. Your reply to me was as if it was written by a different person.

You sound like one of the Plod
Nope, not a policeman, never have been. Just trying to point out that you seem to slag the police first, think about what you are saying afterwards, if at all.

If any Policeman shoots some body who was not a threat to anyone
The officers concerned obviously - rightly or wrongly - considered that this man was a threat. Are you suggesting that had he been waving a real, but unloaded, gun, then the shooting would be murder?

Purely an example
You say that they should be prosecuted if they shoot someone who is not a threat. An unloaded gun is not a threat. How are the Police supposed to know?

Are you happy to shoot a burglar? Is he a threat to you?

you obviously cannot see this from your elevated position of High Sheriff of where-ever,

and you follow this comment by declaring the Police to be murderers? Where exactly are you Sherrif of? Deadwood?

Flying Lawyer
3rd Nov 2004, 08:30

"The killing was judged as UNLAWFUL by a jury, that means MURDER, what else?"

Murder or Manslaughter.

Bear in mind that an Inquest isn't a trial, and the evidence isn't explored in the same way or in the same depth as in a criminal trial. It may turn out to be neither


If a jury at an Inquest has decided that someone was unlawfully killed by police officers, the verdict can't just be ignored.
There must be a review of the evidence given at the Inquest and then a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service whether anything emerged which would justify charging them with murder or manslaughter.

NB: I'm not expressing any view about the facts of this case, or the jury's verdict. I didn't hear the evidence, the jury did.

3rd Nov 2004, 11:19
Ok, put yourself in the position of one of those policemen...You are called out to stop a someone your information says is an Irish man, armed with a sawn off shotgun hidden in a plastic bag. You know that the person was arrested for armed robbery a few years earlier. You get there, point your gun at him hoping that he will lie down like a sensible chap so that you can have a chat to him. Instead he starts waving a stick like object (inside a cover so you can't be sure) around and shouting threats. As soon as he points it at you, you decide that your life is at risk, and you pull the trigger. Game over. Someone said that he should just be 'put down', not killed. The point is that if he is brandishing a gun, he is a threat. If he was shot in the leg, he would still be able to loose off a couple of shots towards YOU. This means that the whole idea of 'shoot to kill' is a nonsense. If there are grounds to shoot, then it is ALWAYS to kill. The bit about not shooting straight is rubbish as well. You try running for a distance, being told that somebody could be about to shoot you or a member of the public, so that your heart rate goes through the roof, and then taking a perfect shot. That is not the point. The policeman in this case aimed for a target, and that target is now dead. result.

Dave Martin
3rd Nov 2004, 12:14
The specifics of the case are that the jury found that he did not in fact threaten the police. The police at no time claimed he was brandishing a weapon, nor that he said anything.

Their only claim was that a man had been reported to have been carrying a shotgun. They saw him, followed him round a corner, shouted simultaneously "Armed Police! Stop!", he began to turn, THEN *he turned to face them, raised the table leg, pointed it at them, adopted a boxers stance*, and they then both shot him.

As has been discussed, it was the section between the two asterisks above that was brought into doubt by forensic evidence.

As a result the jury came to the decision that he "began" to turn towards the noise, at which point the police shot him.

Dave Martin
3rd Nov 2004, 13:54
I'm afraid your facts are completely and utterly wrong.

Firstly, they had no idea that the person was arrested for armed robbery previously.

Secondly, the police admit that every time they challenge people with guns they react differently - some scream, some jump, some run, some drop to the ground or any number of possible variations. Look at the figures. There are hundreds if not thousands of armed callouts in London every year. If they were to fire everytime someone DIDN'T lay down on the ground, we would have carnage on our streets. As a result, the police are trained not to and MUST NOT fire if the person doesn't react as they expect. A prime example would be a schizophrenic (sp?), who is hearing voices anyway, and then hears a couple of police voices. How are they going to react? There is a very good chance that a bunch of people yelling at YOU from behind will just become a jumble of voices, and naturally you will turn around to see what the commotion is about.

Third, he was not waving a gun-like object NOR was he shouting. Not a word was said other than two police officers suddenly yelling at him from behind.

Fourth, the ballistic and pathologists evidence shows that he wasn't facing the police at the time the bullet through his head was fired.

It is absolutely true that the shot would have been towards the central body mass. Shooting guns out of peoples hands, or aiming for limbs when all you have are pistols, is the work of hollywood film stars. Not real policing.

The question is, were there grounds to shoot?

Is running around a corner, seeing a man who has left a pub, who, according to someone in a pub, was "apparently" armed with a shotgun, who then begins to turn to his left, grounds to shoot someone? I think not. I think these two police have let down the entire unit they represent.

As for your statement - "The policeman in this case aimed for a target, and that target is now dead. result.". You might just wish to think again before being so flippant. If you still feel the same after a short pause, I would strongly request you to follow this advice -

a) Do not walk around carrying anything in a blue plastic bag (umbrella, mobile phone etc),


b) next time you are startled by a noise behind you, DON'T even think of turning round....

3rd Nov 2004, 16:59
Training Risky

Actualy, as I recall in the Hastings incident the officer stood trial, and was aquitted. He is therefore innocent.

Same applies to quite a few shootings by Police Officers. Are they treated the same as the Army? No, I think you will find that Police Officers are were trested more harshly in that they were far more lightly to be prosecuted. That situation may be changing however as in events from Iraq.

Dave Martin

You say the 'jury found', Is that your summary of what you think the vedict means? Or is it actual comments made by the jury?

3rd Nov 2004, 17:00
All I was trying to do was see this from a slightly different viewpoint. The policeman aimed for a person, and pulled the trigger. Where the projectile struck is irrelivent. To say that somebody should not be allowed to be an armed officer because they cannot hit a very specific body part when they have a pounding heart / are frightened / may not be using the same type of round they train with, is simply a nonsense. I'm sure that the family are devastated, but I'm sure that there are more facts to come out.

3rd Nov 2004, 17:00
You know, its a funny thing.

When I get pulled over by a police man, I leave my hands on the steering wheel untill the officer can see me. When he asks for my license and registration, I TELL HIM, what I am going to do, then do it slowly and deliberately..

I don't know the specifics of this case, but I accept that they have a difficult job AND that eventually if they do wrong they will be nabbed and end up in the dock. It may not be quick. But it always seams to happen. even if they wound up doing no wrong, their life is upended and ruined in many cases anyway.

So I am on the whole quite sympathetic to their plight.


3rd Nov 2004, 17:32
It seems to me that there's an awful lot of people here who know exactly what happened at the time. (I presume) nobody from here was there. You've all read different articles, from different journalists and reporters, who also weren't there. The only sources of information are the police officers, any witnesses and the dead man. One of these is immediately discountable, and the two remaining groups will be heavily biased by their backgrounds and relation to the political meaning of the death, as well as the events that unfold in front of them.

Anybody who's had a road accident can understand the breadth of variation in 'eyewitness accounts' even minutes after the incident.

Equally, as troddenmasses says, if you've ever fired a gun accurately and in a controlled fashion you must slow your body rate and respiration, calm yourself and prepare for each shot that is fired. The officers perform this task dynamically, under adrenaline and in the real world where the range, crosswinds, steadiness and movement of the target must all be estimated under pressure at the same time as the decision to take the shot.

If you really feel strongly enough to want to make a difference, join up and go train with them. At least then you'll know the job is performed by the best in the world. It's not something I'd want to do. :hmm:

3rd Nov 2004, 17:53

Putting things in perspective. Without a doubt, your post is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen on this forum. Congratulations.

Dave Martin
3rd Nov 2004, 18:10
Well the words of the jury were that Harry Stanley was shot as he *began* to turn. The verdict is something separate, indicating that the jury did not believe that the act was committed in self defense - my premise is that the two are linked.

Agreed. But they should not be a police officer if they shoot when they shouldn't. There are some instances where the split second decision making will make that difficult. It would appear this is not one of those instances as they did have time.

I have a friend from NZ who when stopped by police in the US did what was normal back home - he opened the door to get out and chat with them. Ended up with pistols drawn and cops screaming at him.
There is a term called Special Population Groups that was used extensively in this case. That is, people who do not react as "normal" people would. People who are under the influence of drugs or alchol or people who suffer from mental illness fall into this category. So would people who come from different social norms. Police MUST react accordingly. In many many cases people do not react as you would expect - that is human nature.
A police officer cannot and must not go into a circumstance expecting a person to react in one set way. These kind of issues affect people in all lines of work and police can not be an exception, ESPECIALLY armed police. If they can't do this then they shouldn't have volunteered to be SO19 officers.
I think it is especially true that people in such positions of power and authority must be expected to uphold the very highest of integrity.

Your point on eyewitness accounts is actaully very pertinent to this case. What is damning is ultimately the forensic evidence. It shows he was shot in the head from the 7-8 O'Clock position, which doesn't match too well with the polices claim that he was facing them and pointing the shotgun at them when they fired.
The officers in this case apparently fired from about 15-20 feet. No one in the case has criticied their aiming, it has to be said.

To put this in context, it can be claimed flying is a difficult job. To keep the needles bang on the dot in difficult conditions is a requirement of that job. At times it can be hard. If you undershoot that CAT III and spear-in 100m short of the runway it is not good enough to turn around and claim that you have been put in a tough position and therfore it's not your fault. It would be even worse to turn around and claim the plane was not where it was and that some other person was at fault when you have clearly screwed up.

3rd Nov 2004, 18:53
Dave Martin

I can see your connection between the 2, however what I am trying to establish is was there comment from the jury? Yes they may have decided he was shot as he began to turn, and they may have decided it was unlawful killing. If that was the only comment, it does not follow they have decided the officers 'lied', or did not accept what they were saying. It could be they decided, as vfrpilot has that possession of a table leg is not something that you should be shot over. It could also be that they decided that cowboy films are more accurate than they really are and that someone should have tackled him another way.

So there are other explanations. From listening to the Police Federation, and what you have said there are 2 differing stories of what happened in court. Now I wasn't there, and so I don't know which is the most accurate. Its a little difficult from the press reports which you have pointed out omit some information.

You say the wittness retracted at least in part thier certainty over the position of the victim. The press reports contain no such mention. I would have thought that this would be something jucey for them to comment on. Now please don't me wrong, I am not saying what you say is not correct. Hence why I am looking for what comment (if any) was made by the jury.

Dave Martin
3rd Nov 2004, 23:35

The only comment from the jury was read with the inquisition, and as far as I know no member of the jury has talked with the media. I think it was telling, that in the brief statement read to the court, the only point that was mentioned of any "revelatory" nature to indicate the jury's viewpoint was that "...Mr. Stanley had begun to turn when he was shot..."

A coroners jury has a limited manadate in what they are asked to comment on and with this sentence in mind it would appear to show what the jury was trying to say behind their verdict. That is, that Harry Stanley was not shot after he had turned around and threatened the police officers, but that he turned, probably in response to the noise behind him, and was shot as he *began* that movement.

As I said, they are limited as to exactly what is asked of them to comment on in these circumstances. The officers statements were always that they shot once Harry Stanley turned, faced them, adopted a "boxers" position and pulled the table leg into his hip. The jury clearly disputes this - they say that Harry Stanley was shot as he *began* to turn, which is also the conclusion of the ballistics evidence. The obvious extension of this is that thry did not believe the police claim that they fired when Mr. Stanley turned to face them.

Maybe because this was a lie, maybe because the police "made a mistake", but if this is the point where the police claim they acted in self defence, AND if this was found to be false, AND if that was the only evidence that was presented in court as to the reason they acted in self defense, then they would seem to clearly qualify for an unlwaful killing verdict. No evidence was presented by the police to say they fired or felt threatened at any other point - the reason for which I think would be quite obvious as if it were to be, it would be particularly damning of the officers involved.

It seems unfair to assume that the jury acted simply on emotion. This is especially so considering the weight of the verdict (which was made clear to them in no uncertain terms by the coroner), the 7 hours of deliberations over two days, and when looking at the reasons I give above, ultimately the other evidence that was available. It would be nice to say that they acted on emotion, and that the two police officers involved have been the victims of a cruel and unfair verdict, but given the circumstances, it would appear that the jurors have quite possibly come to an entirely reliable and valid verdict based on the perceived irregularities of the police evidence.

I don't think I have directly heard the Police Federations view of what the jury's verdict was unfortunately, and while I understand that they would naturally support their officers, if they are indeed coming up with their own assumptions of what happened in court and second guessing the reasons behind the jury's verdict then they are trully doing themselves a disservice. THis further drives a wedge between the publics perception of the police and the legal system.

There is a time and a place to support their officers and there is also a limit to just how far they should question a jury's decision, especially when that decision has entirely sound grounds for having been taken. To seek to disscredit a jury in this circumstance while it seems that they are also taking the decision entirely out of context and drawing false conclusions from just what the unlawfull killign verdict means is franky disgusting. Hardly a scientific survery, but from the viewpoints I have been hearing and reading from apparently "dissinterested parties" there seems to be broad support for the verdict of this case. While that might be based on a false understanding of the law, it is simply not acceptable to extend that to the jury. In which case the Police Federation would be far better placed toaccept the inquests verdict and work from there.

The further they take this the more this situation will be escalatated and polarised. Ultimately it has to be realised the jury is a cross section of 9-10 members of the general public. It would seem that the Police Federation is claiming that this group of people have acted in bad faith against the police....this is very dicey ground for them to be standing on. Again, I understand that it is partially their responsibility to support officers in times of trouble, but if they seek to discredit an apparently impartial jury, in the interests of two officers, and also support a general laying down of arms by SO19 officers, all of which is completely outside of the scope of the actual findings of the inquest then I think it must be said that the Police Federation is not acting in the best interests of the force it represents.

Regarding the witness, there was no mention of this in the jury statement. However there were inconsistancies in the witnesses accounts in both inquests and an admission that the words of her statement did not sound entirely like those she would use. THis could indicate a potential for "prompting" by interviewing officers. Witness statements can be easily led, which may well have been the so in this case.

Obs cop
3rd Nov 2004, 23:44
Whilst I cannot and will not comment on the incident itself, I can add some useful information about police use of firearms.

The first few sections of the Manual of Guidance on Police use of firearms are actually publically available and are hear...


There are quite a few statements flying around in the thread that I can clarify.

Firstly, the police do not and never have shot to kill. They are responding to a threat and as such they shoot to stop that threat. This means that the centre of the body mass is nearly always the target as this is known as a stopping shot, and it has the greatest likelyhood of stopping a subject. The only time an officer will deviate from this point of aim is if it is not available at the time they have to stop the threat (eg. subject seen to be wearing body armour).

Secondly, police officers train to a nationally set standard , but in general terms, most armed police officers shoot to a very high level. They have to frequently re-qualify in order to retain their authority to carry firearms. However some reasearch has suggested that in the heat of a moment as many as 7 out of 10 rounds will miss their target. The reasons are many and varied and are both psychological any physiological, but the key features are that frequently the subject is moving, the officers are faced with huge amounts of adrenaline caused mainly by fear, will be communicating with the subject and in virtually all instances where police have fired shots, they are in very dynamic and changeable situations. In such circumstances even the best shots can and do miss.

In all police shootings, an immediate, thorough and detailed investigation is carried out by a different force under the guidance of both the police complaints authority and the crown prosecution service. The investiigation is carried out as if it were a murder as until they complete it and get a result they must assume it is. It does not wait on the result of a coroner's inquest, but runs alongside it. During such investigations, officers are automatically removed from firearms duties. Likewise if there is ever any concern over an officers ability to perform the role mentally or physically they are removed from firearms duties.

The responsibilty for actual use of a firearm lies with the officer carrying it. Their basis for taking a shot is that there is an immediate unlawful threat to a person's life and that the only way to remove that threat is by use of a firearm. In this context threat is not merely verbal threats. Officers are bound by law to ensure that every other available means of dealing with that threat has been considered. The officer makes that split second decision with the knowledge that getting it wrong will mean life imprisonment for murder.

All armed police officers are volunteers, and the role is suffieciently demanding that it would neither be practical nor wise to force an unwilling person to carry out the role. Moreover, the role is not comparable to that of the armed forces. The rules of engagement for armed forces are designed for completely different confrontations. Let me embelish. Armed man is holding a gun to his girlfriend's head when armed police arrive. If they waited till he shot her, before they opened fire, not only would she be dead, but the officers would also be found guilty of murder. This is because until he points the gun at someone else, he is no longer a threat. The point of armed police is to save lives not take them in retaliation and as such they cannot always wait for shots to be fired.

The legal right to protect oneself or another (including by use of deadly force) is not unique to the police as it is covered by Common Law and section 3 of the Criminal Law Act. The armed officers are acting under legal powers which are open to use by all members of our society. They have no dispensation for their role. Furthermore, they are quite rightly expected to demonstrate complete knowledge of the legislation they acted on.

In effect, the volunteer firearms officers base their decision to shoot on the fact that if they do not, a person will die as a direct result of an immediate unlawful act. Any deviation from this means that the officer will be tried and found guilty of murder. If officers believe that the legal system is no longer supporting them in their role then they quite rightfully should not carry firearms, because the last thing an operational officer needs at the split second they make a decision is douby because it will cost innocent lives.

I hope this clarifies some points,

Obs cop

4th Nov 2004, 07:51
Well, as the police are so fond of saying to the public - "If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear".

4th Nov 2004, 15:05

If I remember correctly, the Hastings case was where the judge stopped the trial, and it didn't get to the jury.

Dave Martin got it right with his comment that 'flying is a difficult job'.

4th Nov 2004, 17:44
Dave Martin - hear hear, and good luck with your mission. Just lately, an excess of right-wing neo-conservative ppruners do not like the truth to stand in the way of a good rant. I wish you well!

4th Nov 2004, 19:38
Personally speaking- I think only those Pprooners who were actually at the scene at the time of the shooting and had the intel that the police had on the guy they shot should make comments on this thread.

What you read in the papers and hear on the news is 98% of the time total garbage. I know...I've been there.

5th Nov 2004, 09:38
So have I mate, but it was still a cock-up.

2nd Jun 2005, 14:17
It seems after all that the policemen involved will have to answer for their actions in court.

Murder Probe (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4603643.stm)

Dave Martin
2nd Jun 2005, 14:25
Well well well.

After the verdict being overturned a few weeks back, this is indeed an interesting turn of events.

Loose rivets
3rd Jun 2005, 01:32
I somehow missed this while writing nonsense...but I will read it through very carefully with the links. The one thing that leaps out at me on a quick scan, is the plastic bag.

I spent some years shooting pistol alongside many off-duty officers, and it was in fact a PC that started our club.

There is a monument in the woodland between Frinton and Walton in Essex. It is to an officer who challenged someone carrying a bag. They had gone back to get the spoils of an armed robbery that had taken place in Frinton. Several officers were waiting.

The man turned and before anyone could open fire the officer was fatally wounded. I think that the shotgun was in the bag as he fired.

I'm only 90% sure of the officer's name so I don't want to mention it till I'm sure.

Dave Martin
3rd Jun 2005, 09:14
In this case Harry Stanley never got the opportunity to turn (nor could he have given the state of his health at the time).

Regardless, surely the mere assumption that a man might be carrying a gun (based on one person in a pub claiming so), cannot be enough to shoot him in the back of the head?

I think we all sympathise that being an armed police officer isn't necessarily an easy job, but it does carry a burden of responsibility. Like any other job it also carries a burden of accountability. Both these qualities it seems have been pretty fairly turned on their heads.

3rd Jun 2005, 15:36
Dave Martin

Leaving aside the coincidence in your user name and the fact that it also concerns a police shooting.........

You claim to know more about this (and you possibly do). But from what I can gather the entry wound to this chap was not through the back of the head.

You will obviously be aware that the High Court have overturned the 'Unlawful killing' verdict of the second jury. I would doubt that would be the case if the entry wound were where you say.

Given that the PM would have established that at the begining of the investigation, it would tend to have knocked the police story on the head at that stage.

6 years down the line, and numerous enquiries, both in and out of court, this is now becoming a witch hunt. The memories of witnesses would be trainted by constant re examination, not to mention the strain on the 2 officers.

It's about time this was finaly put to bed. If what happened was not established at the start is certainly wont be now...

3rd Jun 2005, 18:29
It strikes me as slightly strange that in all cases of police shootings of unarmed people over the last 25 years, there's never been a guilty verdict. Even the coppers who watched the guy dying in a police station didn't get convicted. Remember Stephen Waldorf? It seems that it's a valid excuse to shoot someone if you're a copper and you say 'I thought he had a gun'.

Make a mistake while driving (car, train, ship, aeroplane) that kills someone and you're much more likely to be convicted. Even a policeman killing someone on a zebra crossing while answering a 999 call is more likely to be convicted than if he shot an unarmed man.

As Dick Deadeye put it, "It's queer world".

Onan the Clumsy
3rd Jun 2005, 18:33
I thought they were Pelican crossings now :confused:

3rd Jun 2005, 19:11

There is the possibility that they were not guilty.........Just a thought.

5th Jun 2005, 15:00

I could never understand how they got a not guilty verdict in the Waldorf case. The cops admitted that even after he was lying there injured, they were trying to kill him. Then it turned out that they'd got a perfectly innocent guy........Subsequently, they kept raiding his flat to try and find drugs, presumably to try and reduce the amount of compensation.

A very senior retired policeman I knew froma provincial force(regrettably now dead from cancer) told me that he couldn't understand how the verdict was obtained either, but said 'he had his suspicions'.

Whatever that may mean....

5th Jun 2005, 21:02

The fact it was he wrong guy really wasn't relevent. The fact is they thought he was the right guy.

As I recall (and it was a long time ago) the defence was that the real villian of the piece sent Waldorf & woman out as a decoy, which the Police fell for.

apparently at the time they challenged him, he reached into his pocket, he said for a comb. The poiice presumed (given the circumstances understandably so) it was for a gun, and shot him...albeit lots of times.

The ammo used at that time was ...erm crap, and as he kept moving, apparently they kept shooting. Hence as you say he was laying on the ground and they kept trying to kill him.

The person they thought it was, was a nasty bit of work and would have, given a chance, killed anyone in his way. Thats why they were aquitted.

I doubt there was any other factor involved in the court decision, except possibly an element of juries relucant to convict police officers.

5th Jun 2005, 23:47
I speak from eight years carrying guns as a police officer in the USA....and having worked in some very nasty neighborhoods.

The officers in this incident are every bit the victims the deceased is. Lets accept some facts here....they did not seek out this man for any evil reason. They were dispatched there at the request of a citizen who reported seeing a firearm descriibed as being a shotgun. The deceased is reported to have stated to witnesses he had a shotgun. Whether he actually had a shotgun at this point is inmaterial....the officers had received reasonable information upon which to consider the man armed with a shotgun.

The approached the man from behind in an open street....we do not know about available cover for the officers...cars, utility poles, rubbish bins, bus stops....so we have to assume they were unable to confront the suspect from behind cover. This puts the officers in a weak tactical position not of their doing.

It is possible, that waiting for a better location could be done...but we do not know of the presence of bystanders that would be at risk if the officers had waited. Remember...the mindset of the officers is the man is armed based upon what they have been told.

As they approach the suspect, they see he is in fact carrying a long solid object that is concealed in a bag as described by the witnesses in the pub. This works to confirm the information they had been provided.

The officers, without the man being able to see them, announce they are Armed Police and that he should stop in place. The man naturally begins to turn around having heard the challenge. That would be a reasonable thing for him to do.

The key to the officers' account is whether the man in fact shouted threats at them or not...and whether he pointed the object at either of them.

Simply put....if he did that....I would be entitled to shoot him dead by state law. My department policy was more stringent than the law....it required me to see a weapon or see such action by the suspect to reasonably believe it was an aggressive act of trying to use a weapon.

Depending upon what the suspect was doing with his hands would determine if I would shoot this man. If I saw what I felt to be dangerous movements of his hands.....he gets shot....until he falls to the ground and ceases to be a threat.

If he did not point the object at me....if he was not uttering threats....I would not shoot him....I could not under department policy. If he only uttered threats but made no move to point the object at me....he is safe from being shot.....but as I approach him....any...any....aggressive move that brings that object towards me or my partner....such as would be consistent with a firearm....he gets shot.....again until he falls to the ground and ceases to resist.

My training was that one officer would control the suspect by command....order the suspect to face away from the officers...hold his hands high in the air...and would order the weapon (suspect object) to be placed on the ground without pointing towards the officers. The suspect would then be ordered to move away from the weapon and to lay upon the ground face down looking away from the officers. We would then move to the suspect and immediately handcuff him....and do a thorough seach for other weapons and evidence. All during the cuffing procedure....the cuffing officer would be covered by the other officer who would point his weapon at the suspect until the suspect was safely cuffed.

Any aggressive move by the suspect at that time could result in his being shot....depending upon the action seen. Generally at this point all boys in blue pile on to the suspect and control him manually.

If the man made no threats....if he did not point the object at the officers....and was merely turning around...and got shot. I am afraid I have some concern over that. If the officers had available cover and did not use it....if they could have moved apart and put the man into a 90 degree crossfire...especially from good coverered positions....and did not....I am afraid I have some concerns over that. If the suspect made no aggessive moves at all and was merely turning to see what the shouting was about....then the cops are dead wrong for shooting him....in my opinion.

As you make your decision about this...make sure you read all of the information possible before you make up your mind. The police officers on the street being confronted with these situations are in a very tough and dangerous position. A Shotgun at 12-20 feet is a devastating weapon....if it is a multi-barreled or contains a number of shells it could be very deadly to the officers. If they were in the open and not able to find cover before challenging the suspect they were in a vulnerable position. They did not know he was not a terrorist or madman intent upon mass murder....but they had every reasonable suspicion he was armed.

The fact he had a prior criminal record in and of itself is not relevant to the incident beyond giving rise to a question as to how the suspect responded to being challenged by two armed officers. One needs to read all the documentation to attempt to determine his state of mind as it relates to that.

I would think a fair review of all the witness statements and an examination of the physical evidence will work to subtantiate one of the two versions. Either the suspect was agressive and non-responsive....and got himself shot for it........or...the cops shot too quick. If he was agressive and uttered threats and pointed that object at the officers....shame on him. If he made no threats nor made any aggessive act....and did not point the object at the officers....shame on them.

A for what its worth....I walked into a house to find a young man holding a very long sharp dagger to a young child's throat....he was offering to cut the child's throat....there was already a bit of blood showing where the knife had nicked the child's throat. I was standing less than ten feet away....with weapon drawn and pointed directly between the suspect's eyes....I would not have missed. Fortunately, everyone went away from there alive....but if he had not dropped the knife the second time I asked him to....I would have splattered his brains all over the parlor floor. It would have been an absolutely legal shooting. I was not going to ask a third time.

That is the kinds of decisions cops have to make. How do you prepare yourself for that....what kind of training actually prepares you to make that decision? I could have guessed wrong and that knife could have been shoved into the small child's brain. Something told me the suspect would drop the knife.....I am so glad he did.

Don't judge all your police officers by any single event....they have a very difficult job to do...most of them do it without weapons and are wounded on duty with no real means to defend themselves. The Armed Cops....carry an extra burden...put yourself into their shoes....wait too long and die yourself....don't wait long enough and have to live with that the rest of your life.

6th Jun 2005, 00:15
I really cant be bothered to go through 5 pages.

However I can plainly see that anyone that supports the dead guy is a feckin moron.

Being an officer is very hard work. I laugh at the moron whos arguement is "a table leg in a bin liner doesnt look like a gun". You would soon shut your thick trap once your wife got shot up by such a div. political correctness has gone mad these days. This cnut got shot for a good reason and i now and will always support the officers decission. The family are thick as ****. Scummers. Benefit takers. They dont have my vote

6th Jun 2005, 10:26
While I agree that there will be no case for murder - the lesser charges will be less easy to dismiss.

What is difficult for most people to understand is how a man can go for a pint ( there is no medical evidence that he was drunk) walk down the street and be gunned down by the Police. Many have proffered the suicide by cop theory - after all what sort of fool would wave a table leg (gun) at armed Police officers? (This actually happened in Scotland recently and a person with serious mental health problems was shot and wounded).No one has found any evidence that this man was suicidal. In fact all that has been proven is that he was in carrying a table leg not a shotgun.

Now the Police officers own evidence seems to be being questioned and it would seem that there is evidence to back this up.

For some reason much has been made of the fact that the Police thought the suppose gunman was Irish ( does Irish = terrorist) - This does not bode well for all the Irish people resident in London.

SASless - I also hope that the Police as a whole will not be judged on one event.

P.S. Cosworth - go away.Abusive posts like yours add nothing to the debate.

Dave Martin
22nd Jul 2005, 13:28

For the record, the last words the victim ever said were as he ordered his drink in the pub....nothing else. The police don't claim he said anything either.


What planet are you from? You can't be bothered to read the previous 5 pages of postings which would educate you on the specifics of the case and the legal ground the police stand on, but you are only too happy to make a decision based therefore on no knowledge of this case?

The family are not benefit takers.

Following your reasoning, if you were walking home from the pub tomorrow, someone unbeknown to you suspects you have a shotgun, police are called, the run up behind you and shoot you in the back of the head, they would then be justified? Afterall, you could have shot my wife with your non-existant shotgun.

I'd be intrigued to hear any further pearls of wisdom you wish to offer! :ok: Please, entertain me!!:yuk: