The appointment of Cressida Dick as the first female commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has been criticized in some quarters because of her involvement in the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005.
Dick was the “gold commander” who instructed armed officers to “stop” de Menezes. At the time, however, armed officers were following a new set of police guidelines known as Operation Kratos. In the context of these guidelines, Dick’s orders were interpreted as shoot-to-kill. At the Old Bailey in 2007, Dick denied that this had been her intention.
As Mary Dejevsky argues, the de Menezes case provides a lasting reminder of what can go wrong
“whether because the overall atmosphere has not been properly appraised, because the orders given were not precise enough, or simply because insufficient account has been taken of the human factor”.
The National Decision Model, which was introduced a few years after this incident, provides a framework that should (at least in theory) prevent this kind of miscommunication. See my post on the National Decision Model (May 2014). Perhaps this is one of the areas where “lessons have been learned”. Or perhaps not.
Iain Gould is a solicitor. One of his clients was involved in an incident in 2013 that resulted in his being tasered. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) attributed this escalation, in part, to a failure to follow the National Decision Model.
“I would question whether PC B gave enough emphasis to the first element of the National Decision Model, which is to communicate. … More effort should have been made, in line with the National Decision Model, to engage Mr S in dialogue.”
The IPCC commissioned a report in 2015, which contains some analysis of the National Decision Model, and some recommendations for its improved use. There are two versions of the report:
- Police Use of Force (IPCC version)
- Police Use of Force (TNS-BMRB version)
- both accessed via IPCC webpage on Police Use of Force (retrieved 27 February 2017).
The Guardian view on the Met police: changing, but too slowly (23 February 2017)
Duncan Campbell et al, Leaks raise sharp questions about police tactics (Guardian, 17 August 2005)
Mary Dejevsky, Can Cressida Dick win over the public? Yes, if she’s learned from her mistakes (Guardian, 23 February 2017)
Iain Gould, Is Police Taser Policy Working? (11 May 2016)
Martin Hoscik, Sadiq Khan says ‘My heart goes out to the de Menezes family’ but insists Cressida Dick is the right choice to protect London (MayorWatch, 25 February 25, 2017)
Maxwell Mclean, The Coroner in England and Wales; Coronial Decision-Making and Local Variation in Case Outcomes (Doctoral Thesis, University of Huddersfield, 2015)
Wail Qasim, Lessons Learned (LRB Blog, 27 February 2017)
- National Decision Model (May 2014)