Licence to kill?

TO ERR is human, and more so in critical situations. Yet, the decision by London’s Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) to promote and ‘reward’ a police official who happened to have acted in an extremely wrong way, is raising many eyebrows.

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Published: Wed 21 Feb 2007, 8:14 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:52 AM

The official is none other than Cressida Dick, who had shot down an innocent Brazilian in a case of mistaken identity, two weeks after the London train bombings in July, 2005. Aside from the promotion, she will now have the added pleasure and privilege of – hold your breath — looking after the royal family’s safety!

Consider the fact that this is the same official who was expected, instead, to face criminal action for her shooting of the Brazilian, following a thorough investigation into her action by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). It was not only that the authorities brushed aside the Commission’s recommendation to punish her, but also chose to give her the nation’s most challenging and responsible job. The MPA’s assertion, that “By confirming this promotion, we are making it clear that the officer retains our full confidence”, is only a re-assertion of the opposite — that, there’s a crisis of confidence in respect of this official.

By doing so, what is the message that the authorities are sending across to the police force? That, they can not only get away with such acts with impunity, but also hope to climb a few steps up the ladder, soon enough?

It is important to note that the IPCC investigations showed she had acted the wrong way. This, not by any force of circumstances; for, in the event, they would have let her off the hook. Even in the worst case scenario, a responsible police official is not free to act in a reckless manner, as was likely in the Brazilian’s case.

These, however, are strange times. The police force in London has not been seen in the best of lights in recent years. The police’s anti-terror frenzy is understandable, in as far as it does not rebel against the citizens’ sense of safety. But, rewarding a police official like Cressida Dick might be tantamount to giving the police force the lethal strength, namely the licence to kill.

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