Says the report: "Despite the belief within Room 1600 that Nettletip had been identified it should be noted that every entry on the Surveillance Running Log refers to the person as being 'U/I male', meaning unidentified."
The report notes that the ground surveillance team all appeared to believe that they did not have a positive sighting, while the control room believed that they did. It looks very much as if faulty filtering and Chinese whispers effectively manufactured this situation, helped along by individual officer's fears of the consequences of making a mistake. This would tend to make them extremely cautious of saying that it definitely wasn't Nettletip, meaning the possibility that it was him was pretty well embedded in the system. These doubts would be filtered upwards, and the same fears would lead superior officers to give undue weight to a single claim of 'might be' over half a dozen of 'probably isn't'. The claims of CO19 that they heard "definitely" illustrate that direct monitoring in the control room isn't the answer either - nobody admits to saying that, and they may simply have missed the word "not".
Command and Control
The communications problems inherent in the way the Met was running multiple teams from a remote control room suggest a system that isn't actually fit for purpose as regards tracking and intercepting a suspect, rather than one that just didn't work well on the day. But the command and control systems come out badly too, sometimes for related reasons, but not always.
The report notes that Commander Dick viewed it as natural that she, as the senior officer, should be in charge of the operation, and that is no doubt how it works as a matter of course at the Met. But she was presiding over a system that was - as we've seen - incapable of passing timely, accurate and undistorted information to the control room, and which also failed in the other direction, over the interpretation of her 'stop' command to CO19, who claim to have thought it was a shoot to kill order. The initial deployment plan called for surveillance, CO12, to monitor those coming out of the building and for CO19 to detain them at a safe distance. CO19 wasn't however in place (as detailed by Lewis Page), so neither de Menezes nor any of the other people coming out of the building were stopped and questioned according to plan.
More autonomy on the ground, or better, command authority there, would quite possibly have resulted in a contingency plan kicking in. The other people leaving the building were presumably left alone because they were identified as definitely not Nettletip, and de Menezes would probably have been stopped and questioned (stop and question was the plan), rather than shot a short time later.
De Menezes was neither stopped nor ruled out as Nettletip because initially the officer watching the exit was unable to get a clear look at him (because he was having a pee). Arguably de Menezes' chances might have been better if at this juncture he'd been misidentified as Nettletip. Would they have let an identified terror suspect get on a bus, or would CO12 have intervened? It's a possibility - but he boarded the bus, his identity shrouded by doubt. The capability to make decisions on the ground was also decreased because the ground commander was with CO19, not in the vicinity of the monitored block of flats.
A word here about CO12's and CO19's roles. The CO12 officers were armed, but were only intended to stop a suspect in the last resort, on the basis that they did not have specialist training, while CO19 officers did. This differentiation wasn't specific to this operation, and can perhaps be seen as a further sign of institutionalised risk aversion in the police.
Mark Rainer - the "dum dum bullets" issue is something of a red herring
The point of "expanding ammunition/rounds" - dum-dums in the vernacular - is not, as many people believe, that they kill people better. And are therefore indicative of a shoot-to-kill policy.
The point is that they deliver more instantaneous impact to the target they're aimed at - increasing the chances that said target will immediately lose interest in what they were doing and fall over.
It's about overloading the nervous system - a-la tasers.
It's the flipside of another misconception - that "fully-jacketed" rounds are used by armed forces because they're more "humane".
In an armed conflict, it's much better (from a logistical standpoint) to only wound, NOT kill, as many of the enemy as possible. Thus taking them out of the fighting while causing the enemy to use up valuable resources caring for them.
Expanding rounds on the other hand are not intrinsically intended to kill/not-kill, wound/not-wound - they're intended to immediately "stop" the target.
I'm not excusing the entire encyclopedia of screwups that the led to Mr Menezes death in any way. But, IMHO, the choice of ammunition wasn't one of them. Expanding ammo is precisely the right choice if you aim to instantly shut down someone with their finger on a button.
Always enjoy your reasoned take on "security" matters
As someone who in a past life had a semi-professional involvement in things that go bang (mostly the handheld variety) and things that go boom (generally attached to doors and doorframes or thrown inside after said obstacles have been removed) ...
It's great to read stories on these matters from someone who understands that the words "gun" and "bomb" mean very little unless you can explain exactly what you're talking about. Which the "meeja" seldom do.
It's exactly the same as most stories involving drugs: "He was a drug user."
Fine. Opiates, stimulants, psychedelics, cannabinoids, steroids, what? A couple of lines at the weekend or going the whole Pete Docherty?
Same thing with your great deconstruction of the "liquids on planes=bombs" debacle. "So exactly what *kind* of bomb could, allegedly, be produced."
Keep up the good work!
Excitable boys (and girls)
I've been in a crisis (suspected gunman) and have seen people ramp themselves up, get self-important, mis-hear, want a drama, get swept up intheir own drama, and everyone gets excited and sloppy. Police like to *do* things, take actions, and in combatting terrorism it's mostly a case of listening to snitches. This is not fun. Running around with guns shouting into two-way radioes is fun. Being in a command centre is fun. Weird fun, but fun in the way soldiers can love battle. So it seems that everyone got carried away, got rattled, and did something bad.
The worst of it was it instant heaping of lies onto the dead Mr Menezes' head. We were left for a long time thinking that he ran, vaulted the barrier, was wearing a suspiciously bulky coat and so on. These were all deliberate lies. This is where the police truly showed that they could not be trusted. I wouldn't give them a water pistol, let alone anything with bullets in it. The only guy who has *really* stopped a 'terrorist' in his tracks was that chap at the Glasgow airport. No command centres there, just a 'no way, mate' and a tackle.