Wednesday 18 November 2015

"Shoot to Kill" ~ those who seek to kill can certainly expect lethal force in return

Joshua Rozenberg writing in The Guardian 18th November says that - "The law makes it clear that shooting to kill has to be justified......"  Mr Rozenberg's article comes in the wake of comments relating to "shoot to kill" made by the Leader of the Opposition (Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn MP) - see BBC 17th November

As Rozenberg (rightly) states, shooting with intent to kill can certainly be an option available to the Police or Security Forces if faced with a situation in which a criminal is threatening human life.  Whether actually killing someone is lawful will depend on all the circumstances including information given to the Police Officer or soldier who actually fires the gun.

In June, The European Court of Human Rights heard the case of Da Silva. 
This is concerned with the shooting at Stockwell (London) of Charles de Menezes.  Judgment of the court is awaited.  See previous post 8th June 2015.  This case also amply illustrates, if such illustration is needed, that the Police and security authorities must operate within the law.

Meanwhile, the authorities would do well to ensure that there are adequate numbers of properly trained and equipped officers to cope with terrorist situations.  Cuts to policing are worrying many people. - Express 25th October - and any government will pay a heavy political price if the authorities are found unprepared or otherwise wanting in a terrorism situation.

Sean Jones QC - There's a time and a place: a reflection on Jeremy Corbyn's response to the Paris attack.


  1. But the phrase "Shoot to kill policy" has a well understood specific meaning.

    It is not the shooting of people when that is the necessary minimum force to stop them killing someone ekse. It is a policy to kill particular people rather than arrest them.

    This is why the government repeatedly denied there was a policy to shoot to kill the IRA.

    1. Rolo - yes, I agree. The phrase "shoot to kill" could be taken to mean that individuals of a particular type of description will be killed irrespective of circumstances. It seems to me that this was Mr Corbyn's actual concern for which he has been deliberately vilified by opponents. Such a policy could not be lawful because it takes no account of actual circumstances.

  2. In my opinion, Rozenberg is trying to pass off his right-wing anti-Corbyn views as balanced and independent legal commentary.

    Such commentators and even Juudges think that they do a good job in that respect, but their bias is obvious to people like me, when I observe the dearth of legal comment on things like this:

    Note the silence. Surely there is something to be said about the legality of this foul kingdom forcing disabled people to kill themselves? Nothing about manslaughter? What about the tort neighbour principle? No, ours is a kangaroo court system that is here to put a smile on the faces of Tories. So of course shoot to kill is "legal."