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Firearms Officers refusing to carry out duty

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Firearms Officers refusing to carry out duty

Old 3rd Nov 2004, 16:59
  #41 (permalink)  
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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?
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Old 3rd Nov 2004, 17:00
  #42 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 3rd Nov 2004, 17:00
  #43 (permalink)  
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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.

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Old 3rd Nov 2004, 17:32
  #44 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 3rd Nov 2004, 17:53
  #45 (permalink)  
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Putting things in perspective. Without a doubt, your post is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen on this forum. Congratulations.
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Old 3rd Nov 2004, 18:10
  #46 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 3rd Nov 2004, 18:53
  #47 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 3rd Nov 2004, 23:35
  #48 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 3rd Nov 2004, 23:44
  #49 (permalink)  
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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
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Old 4th Nov 2004, 07:51
  #50 (permalink)  
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Well, as the police are so fond of saying to the public - "If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear".
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Old 4th Nov 2004, 15:05
  #51 (permalink)  
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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'.
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Old 4th Nov 2004, 17:44
  #52 (permalink)  
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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!
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Old 4th Nov 2004, 19:38
  #53 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 5th Nov 2004, 09:38
  #54 (permalink)  
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So have I mate, but it was still type of dog-up.
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Old 2nd Jun 2005, 14:17
  #55 (permalink)  
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It seems after all that the policemen involved will have to answer for their actions in court.

Murder Probe
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Old 2nd Jun 2005, 14:25
  #56 (permalink)  
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Well well well.

After the verdict being overturned a few weeks back, this is indeed an interesting turn of events.
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Old 3rd Jun 2005, 01:32
  #57 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 3rd Jun 2005, 09:14
  #58 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 3rd Jun 2005, 15:36
  #59 (permalink)  
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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...
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Old 3rd Jun 2005, 18:29
  #60 (permalink)  
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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".
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