New report adds to pressure on London police chief

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LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) London's police chief faces renewed pressure on his job today with the release of a long-awaited independent report into the shooting of a Brazilian man by police officers who mistook him for a suicide bomber.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will publish its findings into what happened on July 22, 2005, when Jean Charles de Menezes was shot seven times as he boarded an underground train at Stockwell station in south London.

The 27-year-old electrician had been mistaken for one of four men who had tried the day before to carry out suicide bombings on London's transport system in an attempt to replicate the carnage caused by similar attacks two weeks before.

Last week, London's police force as a whole was found guilty of health and safety breaches over the shooting and fined 175,000 pounds, after prosecutors decided no individual officers should face charges.

The protracted investigations into what, if any, criminal action should be brought against the police delayed publication of the full IPCC report until now.

Its release comes amid a clamour for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair to quit over the issue.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have both said he should step down, and yesterday the London Assembly passed a motion which said he should consider his position and resign, although that vote was purely symbolic.

Blair is adamant that he will continue in the job, and has the backing of the Home Secretary, London's mayor, and the head of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the body that oversees the London force and does have the power to remove him.

The police and the MPA have said there will be little in Thursday's report that has not already been made public during the health and safety trial.

''Our job was to find out what happened on that day and then to make recommendations to try and make it less likely that it should happen again,'' Nick Hardwick, the IPCC chairman, told BBC Radio.

Blair has said he hopes the IPCC's account will draw a line under the matter, but any damning conclusions will increase the pressure on the police chief whom de Menezes's family have repeatedly said should quit.

Today's report is the second IPCC inquiry into the Stockwell shooting. An earlier report, released in August, examined whether the police had misled the public by releasing false information on the day of de Menezes's death.

Blair was cleared of lying but the report found he had been kept in the dark about the fatal mistake for some time and that Andy Hayman, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer, had misled colleagues and the public.


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