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The News Line: News Police will shoot to kill drivers – ‘carte blanche to kill innocents’ says United Families and Friends
Friends and families of those who have died in police custody marching last October – co-chair of the campaign, Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett said the new police tactics will lead to more innocent citizens’ deaths
ARMED police have adopted a new shoot-to-kill tactic: fire sub-automatic assault rifles at moving vehicles to ‘neutralise’ the driver, sparking fears that many more innocent people will be shot dead by the police.

Officers were previously told not to shoot drivers of moving vehicles because of the additional dangers it posed.

Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, the national lead for armed policing, National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), said that elite marksmen have been given new assault rifles and received specialist training as part of new ‘aggressive tactics’.

Chesterman claimed that it was because of attacks such as those in Westminster, Nice and Berlin that new tactics have now been adopted. However, Chesterman admitted that there was a risk of bullets bouncing off the glass or the body of vehicles and hitting passers-by.

There is also the risk that once the driver is killed, the vehicle will career out of control and hit pedestrians or cause a major traffic accident. He added officers now had ammunition to penetrate doors and windows to lessen that risk.

Forces now have trained specialist units of ‘counter terrorist firearms officers,’ who are equipped with SIG Sauer assault rifles which fire powerful 5.56mm NATO rounds, rather than regular police issue 9mm rounds.

As part of the change in policy, Chesterman said the tactics of firearms officers were now ‘far more aggressive’. Chesterman also announced that the number of authorised firearms officers is to reach 10,500 by next year, an increase of about 1,500.

The London Met now has more than 30 armed response cars in London, an increase of 19, with around 90 extra firearms officers to crew the vehicles. Chesterman said that their training includes tackling scenarios involving hijacked aircraft and ships.

As well, Chesterman announced that armed police were being trained to storm Tube carriages.
On 22 July 2005, a completely innocent man, Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian electrician, was shot dead by officers of the London Metropolitan Police Service at Stockwell Station on the London Underground.

Two officers fired a total of eleven shots, according to the number of empty shell casings found on the floor of the train afterwards. De Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder at close range.

No police officers were prosecuted for his murder, and the police commander, Cressida Dick, who gave the kill order, was rewarded by being promoted to top job – commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett, co-chair of United Families and Friends, told News Line yesterday: ‘The government have given the go-ahead for more shoot-to-kill casualties. We have enough deaths at the hands of the police, let alone weaponising them. Officers have not been held responsible in the case of Marc Duggan or in the case of Susan Alexander’s son Azelle Rodney. Now they will be given carte blanche to kill innocent unarmed citizens.’


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