Met po­lice hit back at crit­i­cism of ex-chief

Gulf Times - - BRITAIN/IRELAND - By Ha­roon Sid­dique

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan po­lice have con­demned crit­i­cism of the force’s deputy com­mis­sioner for re­main­ing in his car while Khalid Ma­sood stabbed an un­armed po­lice of­fi­cer to death dur­ing the West­min­ster Bridge at­tack.

Sir Craig Mackey, then the act­ing Met com­mis­sioner, was be­ing driven out of the Palace of West­min­ster dur­ing the in­ci­dent on 22 March last year.

He faced calls to re­sign and for him be stripped of his knight­hood from for­mer of­fi­cers and on po­lice fo­rums, af­ter he told the in­quest into Ma­sood’s death that he re­mained in his ve­hi­cle be­cause he had “no pro­tec­tive equip­ment and no ra­dio”.

The Ex­press front page on Thurs­day read “Po­lice hero who put his boss to shame”, com­par­ing Mackey’s ac­tions un­favourably with those of the armed pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer who shot Ma­sood dead, while an ar­ti­cle on the Sun web­site was head­lined “Mark of cow­ardice”.

Speak­ing af­ter the con­clu­sion of the in­quest, the Met com­mis­sioner, Cres­sida Dick, said the crit­i­cism was “con­fused, un­pleas­ant, per­son­alised and ig­no­rant”.

“The at­tack in New Palace Yard oc­curred and was stopped in sec­onds. Sir Craig had ab­so­lutely no op­por­tu­nity to stop the killer or save PC [Keith] Palmer. Any­one who sug­gests oth­er­wise is sim­ply wrong,” she said.

“The ac­tions he was able to, and did, take were to pro­tect the un­armed po­lice staff col­leagues who were in the car with him. He went on to lead the Met’s re­sponse to the at­tack with dis­tinc­tion.”

Neil Basu, a Met as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner and Bri­tain’s most se­nior counter-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cer, echoed her com­ments, de­scrib­ing the crit­i­cism of Mackey as “ab­hor­rent”.

He also warned against giv­ing peo­ple such as Ma­sood “the com­fort that they have some­how di­vided us as a re­sult of their ac­tions”.

In his sum­ming-up to the jury, the chief coro­ner of Eng­land and Wales,

Mark Lu­craft QC, de­scribed Mackey’s ac­tions as “sen­si­ble and proper and in­tended to pro­tect oth­ers in the car”.

Lu­craft said Mackey did not flee the scene.

“You may well think that it was im­por­tant for the most se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer in the coun­try to be at New Scot­land Yard, where he could take com­mand and con­trol of what, at that time, could po­ten­tially have been part of a much larger at­tack,” he said.

Sir Craig: ac­cused of cow­ardice.

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