Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
IOPC recommendations following Fishmongers’ Hall terror attack being implemented nationally by police forces
National recommendations to improve police management of terrorism offenders are being implemented following two of our investigations, carried out after the terrorist attack by Usman Khan at Fishmongers’ Hall.
Training for officers on the types of terrorism offenders they are managing, and the different risks that they may pose, has been under development and is expected to start soon. This was just one of several IOPC national learning recommendations made early during our investigations and accepted by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) in March 2021.
We began our investigations after Usman Khan, from Stoke-on-Trent, attacked and killed Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, at a Learning Together prisoner rehabilitation course at Fishmongers’ Hall in London on 29 November 2019. On 28 May the inquest into Jack and Saskia’s deaths concluded they were unlawfully killed.
An inquest into the fatal shooting of Mr Khan by police on London Bridge ended recently (10 June) when the jury concluded he was lawfully killed.
One of our investigations focused on the actions of Staffordshire Police officers from the Prevent Team, who were tasked with monitoring the activities of Usman Khan. Our investigation found these officers were not sufficiently trained to manage this level of risk, as the role of Prevent Team officers is primarily to safeguard and protect vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism in the first place and work alongside stakeholders and communities to build resilience to extremist narratives.
Our second investigation looked at the killing of Mr Khan by firearms officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and City of London Police (COLP) who Tasered and shot Mr Khan after he was chased on to London Bridge by members of the public. Twenty shots were fired by six officers. Khan was later found to have been wearing a fake suicide jacket.
In March 2020, before our investigations had concluded, we made four early learning recommendations to the national policing lead for counter-terrorism at the NPCC relating to the management of offenders released from prison following terrorism offences:
- Police forces should develop appropriate systems to support the effective management of convicted terrorist offenders at a regional and national level and between agencies. As a result, funding is already in place to make this happen.
- Suitable policies and procedures should be in place distinguishing between the different types of terrorist offenders and cover what the precise role and responsibility of the police force is, in relation to each type of offender. These policies and procedures should also detail how information is shared with other agencies. Now, guidance has been included into the counter-terrorism manual to tighten up this area.
- Police officers should be specifically trained for the types of offenders that they are managing and the different risks that they may pose. Following this recommendation, training is expected to start next month.
- Police forces should ensure that convicted terrorist offenders are not given mobile devices that have access to the internet, if they are not allowed access to the internet. Guidance has now been included into the counter-terrorism manual to tighten up this area.
Following our investigation, College of Policing national training and guidance has also been updated on the circumstances in which armed officers require authorisation to fire ‘critical shots’ at suspects. A critical shot is a shot to someone’s head which can be self-authorised by an officer if, for example, the person is wearing a suicide vest, as was believed to be the case. Here, the officers requested authorisation from the control room but this was not necessary.
Regional Director for London, Sal Naseem, recently said:
“Eighteen months on, our thoughts remain with the families and friends of Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt, and everyone who was affected by this horrific terrorist attack.
“An inquest jury on 28 May found unacceptable management and lack of accountability among the agencies responsible for Khan, coupled with insufficient experience and training of the people managing him. Policing needs to learn lessons from this incident, and our independent investigation has played an important role in working with forces to identify improvements and help prevent tragedies like this happening again.
“While we didn’t find any wrongdoing by any officers, we have worked with counter-terrorism policing to ensure police forces update practices and close any gaps in the way they deal with ex-offenders. Our recommendations support other activity already underway to tighten up the way police officers nationally deal with terrorism offenders who are released and have to be monitored. Importantly, they will also ensure police officers are supported with the necessary training to do this work.”
Our investigation into the police management of Mr Khan following his release from prison and the deaths of Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones began on 12 December 2019. It concluded in March 2021 and our report was shared with the families involved, and with Staffordshire Police.
During the investigation we examined a significant amount of material from Staffordshire Police, interviewed the four officers involved with managing Mr Khan, and reviewed statements provided from the force’s Special Branch officers in response to our questions. Statements were provided by West Midlands Police and the Security Services. Other documents obtained and reviewed included multi-agency meeting minutes, the relevant emails of officers involved in managing Mr Khan and statements and case records from staff in the National Probation Service.
Our investigation into the fatal shooting of Mr Khan began on 29 November 2019. It concluded in November 2020 and our report was shared with Mr Khan’s family and with City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police. As part of that investigation, we reviewed relevant CCTV footage, police body worn footage, airwaves and statements of both the officers involved and members of the public. The IOPC also reviewed statements from firearms instructors, explosives experts and a firearms expert. The actions of officers were compared to relevant legislation, policing policies and training.
Both of our investigation reports were provided to HM Coroner.
Police officers were treated as witnesses throughout our investigations.
We made the following recommendations to the NPCC:
- The IOPC recommends that the national policing lead for counter-terrorism should ensure that police officers involved in managing offenders released from prison following terrorism offences should be given appropriate and specific training in relation to the types of offenders that they are managing and the different risks that they pose.
- The IOPC recommends that the national policing lead for counter-terrorism should ensure there are suitable policies and procedures in place in relation to the police’s involvement in managing convicted terrorist offenders. These policies and procedures should distinguish between the different types of terrorist offenders and cover what the precise role and responsibility of the police force is, in relation to each type of offender. They should also include the duties of the officers in terms of the type of information they should be sharing with each agency that will be involved.
- The IOPC recommends that the national policing lead for counter-terrorism should ensure that police forces develop appropriate systems, to assist with the implementation of policies and procedures, and information capture regarding the management of convicted terrorist offenders. These systems should enable the accurate capture of data in relation to the different numbers and types of terrorist offenders, to support the effective management of CT offenders at a national level and between agencies.
- The IOPC recommends that the national policing lead for counter-terrorism should ensure there is a list of appropriate mobile devices that can be used by convicted terrorist offenders, depending on the conditions to which they are subject, and not allow them access to any other mobile device. Particularly, police forces should ensure that convicted terrorist offenders are not given mobile devices that have access to the internet, if they are not allowed access to the internet.
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