In my book Shoot to kill: Police accountability, firearms and fatal force, I examine two main themes: firstly, what is accountability regarding police use of firearms? And secondly who has ownership of the policy “Kratos” on dealing with suicide bombers? Kratos involves the use of a critical head shot at point blank range, with hollow-point ammunition, and with multiple shots. There can only be one result – death; this is indisputably “shoot to kill”. Underlying this is a broader question – what does this imply about the future of policing in the UK?
In the past, police policy and practice in Britain was based on minimum force and avoidance of death. In 2005 the shooting at Stockwell station of the innocent man Jean Charles de Menezes revealed a seismic change in the philosophy and practice of firearms use and accountability. The Kratos policy effectively in use at Stockwell was formulated by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers).
In the book, I argue that ACPO is an unaccountable quango and that use of fatal force should be in the public domain. Instead, there`s a conspiracy of silence from ACPO, the Home Office and government on this although it concerns the state`s use of fatal force against citizens. There is therefore an urgent need for transparency and clarity on this by locating ownership in parliamentary and public debate.
Maurice Punch, author of Shoot to Kill, publishing on 30 November 2011