Thu, Aug 02, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Top UK anti-terror officer criticized in report over killing

THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

The most senior anti-terrorist officer in the UK will be heavily criticized in an official report published today into the events surrounding the killing of an innocent Brazilian man in south London.

While Sir Ian Blair, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police will escape serious censure from the Independent Police Complaints Commission over his role, Andy Hayman, the overall head of counter terrorism and intelligence, is understood to have been singled out for being deliberately misleading.

In the last two weeks the IPCC has withdrawn its criticism of three other officers after being threatened with legal action because it had failed to follow its own guidelines over the way it dealt with them.

The expected findings of Stockwell 2, a two-year IPCC investigation into who in the Metropolitan police knew what and when in the aftermath of the shooting have caused disquiet at Scotland Yard.

The force has always maintained that anti-terrorist officers were faced with unprecedented challenges on July 22, 2005, as they searched for at least four suicide bombers who had attempted to blow themselves up on tube trains and a bus on the London transport system the day before.

There has also been private criticism of the way the IPCC has conducted its first high-profile investigation since the watchdog body was reformed and made independent of the police.

"This was London in the grips of an attack, two weeks after another terrorist attack had killed 52 people," one source said. "Four men were on the run who could have attacked again, the events of the day were extremely fast moving. There is a sense that the IPCC, having failed to recommend any action against any of the officers involved in the shooting itself needed a scapegoat."

De Menezes, 27, who was making his way to work, was shot seven times in the head by an armed police surveillance team after being mistaken for one of the suspected July 21 suicide bombers. In the hours after the shooting, Scotland Yard maintained that the man targeted was a suspected terrorist, but were forced to concede the following day he was innocent.

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