Doing their job
THE rules of engagement for armed police are under renewed scrutiny today, after it emerged that the officer involved in the shooting of a suspected terrorist told independent investigators that it was an accident.
The armed officer who led the raid on a suspected chemical bomb factory in East London said that he did not deliberately fire the shot that injured Abul Kahar Kalam, but that his gun went off during a struggle on a staircase.
His evidence is at odds with that of Mr Kahar, 23, who said that there was no tussle and the officer from the SO19 firearms unit did not issue a warning before he was hit as he emerged unarmed from his bedroom, dressed in pyjamas.
His brother, Abul Koyair Kalam, 20, told his lawyer that he denies strenuously reports that he was responsible for the lone shot being fired after grappling with the police during the 4am raid.
The police emphasised that this was an MI5-led operation. They were concerned that the intelligence services appeared to be relying on a single informant. They have until Wednesday to question the brothers without special permission from a magistrate.
Sir Ian Blair, the beleaguered Metropolitan Police Commissioner, is under pressure to give a public assurance on the tactics used by his armed officers. Crown prosecutors are expected to decide by the end of the month whether to bring charges against his officers over the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian who was mistakenly shot as a terrorist on July 22 last year.
It is understood that investigators from the Independent Police Complaints Commission were told that there was a struggle in the darkness during last Friday’s raid and that the Heckler & Koch sub-machinegun went off and the bullet lodged in the ceiling. A Scotland Yard source told The Times: “The officer is insistent he did not pull the trigger.”
The safety catch was off and the officer was wearing gloves and a bulky chemical and biological protection suit after intelligence warnings that there could be lethal materials hidden inside the terraced house...
The lawyers for the two brothers are demanding to know why 250 officers raided their home. Both men deny any involvement in terrorism. Mr Koyair told his lawyer: “I am angry this happened to me but pleased police are doing their job.”
That whirring sound you hear is the sound of backpedaling as stories are retracted, blame is being shifted and Sir Ian Blair is scratching his head yet again. My bet is these two guys are going to walk free with a cheque for compensation, I may be wrong but that is the way the briefings are going at the moment...