Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Police shoot to kill (again!)
"The fifth fatal shooting in nine months"


In incidents of this sort, people tend to take one of two positions. They are readily seen on such media platforms as Twitter. 

The first is an unsympathic and blunt one supportive of police action, whatever they choose to do. It is embedded in a belief that whatever was done, was necessary and proportionate. Further that anyone who acts illegally, particularly in relation the ownership of guns, deserves all they get, up to including being killed. 

The second is more cautious and recognises that illegal activities and those that engage in them, need to be controlled, but the rule of law - that no one should be punished without due process - should be upheld by everyone, and particulary by the police, in the absence of which all citizens are at risk of arbitrary slaughter.

No one doubts that when confronting alleged criminals with access to weapons, police need to be able to protect themselves, with guns if necessary, which they should be empowered to used if threatened. However what we are increasingly witnessing is fatal shooting of individuals by police based only on suspicion that a weapon might be used, without any evidence of threat being posed and without any opportunity to surrender to arrest in a non-violent manner. 

If this is an accurate assessment, it marks a very disturbing and dangerous change in police methodology. 

Given what we see from the photographic evidence in this case, it is difficult to see how anyone in the car, could have posed a significant risk to armed officers that presumably surrounded it.  Nor that there was any attempt to resist arrest by the four men concerned. If so the three aimed shots at the target have all the appearance of an intentional unjustified killing, that hopefully we still regard as murder. 

Had someone other than a policeman had carried it out, they would have been arrested. Not only has the officer not been arrested it would seem but all the individuals involved in the operation are nowhere to be seen in early photographs so we must assume they were conveyed away from the scene in other vehicles. It is likely they will all be protected from publicity unlike any other citizen. 

Herein lies the danger if such action becomes standard (and common) operating procedure. A select group of unaccountable and anonymous authorised to assassinate at will. Is the country comfortable with that concept?


At about 6 pm on Tuesday 3rd January, 2017 a man sitting in the driving seat of silver Audi was shot dead by a police marksman.  The car had been forced to come to a halt by police vehicles as it left a slip road from the M62 between Huddersfield and Manchester. Police stated that they were acting on information received that there was a firearm in the car. 

There also appears to have been history of firearm use. The dead man had been charged with attempted murder by spraying a car with lead shot but he was cleared on the orders of the Judge in 2010. Five years later in June 2015, the family house where he lived was sprayed in bullets, presumably in response, and several were injured. It appears no one was charged as a result of that incident.


So it may be assumed that the police knew they were dealing with gunmen that they needed to arrest. The question arises however, did they need to discharge a firearm to do it? Given the fact that the car had been impounded and the targets were inside, what threat did they pose that necessitated one to be shot dead with three bullets through the windscreen if indeed, as seems evident from the photographs of the scene, they were the fatal shots? This certainly has all the appearance of planned and premeditated shoot to kill.

Given the fact that this is the FIFTH fatal police shooting in the last nine months and raises profound questions about the direction and methods currently being adopted by police at the behest or support of the Home Office. It must be viewed in the context of recent announcements about the increase in armed officers and their deployment (with the support of the SAS if necessary) throughout the country.


The suspicion is that this latest fatal shooting is symptomatic of a very disturbing change in emphasis and method away from local civilian control of police to that of centrally organised and directed 'killing squads'. It should be noted the external threat of ISIS related terror has been used to justify the shift in policy that many find highly suspect. In practise, as in France, Germany, Belgium and Italy, fatal force is being used in preference to arrest in many cases, obviating the need for any judicial process, or indeed of proving guilt. 

In other words it is a major shift in policing powers and method that could threaten anyone. It sits very uneasily with our established democratic principles. It is yet another very real indicator of a shift towards a much more ugly exercise of state power already demonstrated in the United States. 

One cannot help but get the impression this is a concerted and coordinated international trend, into which Britain also is being sucked or driven, largely by stealth and without consultation in any meaningful way. Someone in government, presumably the Home Office, has approved this new approach to policing. Who is it? Shouldn't we be told?

He's a clue. Whilst being in charge of a policy of reducing police numbers by 22,000, often of the most experienced officers, David Cameron has also promoted greater use of armed officers and significantly a change in the ethos surrounding the use of weapons.

The smashed window of a car at the scene where a man has died during a pre-planned operation on a M62 slip road
The smashed window of a car at the scene where a man has died during a pre-planned operation on a M62 slip road CREDIT: ANDREW MCCAREN/LNP/ANDREW MCCAREN/LNP

A year ago the Independent reported as follows:

"The Prime Minister has ordered a review into legal protections for police marksmen after senior officers demanded more support for the first responders of any Paris-style terrorist attack. David Cameron was lobbied by senior officers, including Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, after being warned of concerns that officers could be tied up in long-running legal disputes after making split-second decisions to open fire. The review – to be carried out by the Ministry of Justice and Home Office – will cover all forms of police shooting, but government sources said it was in response to the threat of a marauding terrorist attack." (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-orders-review-of-legal-protection-for-armed-police-a6780891.html)
So as can be observed, the change in method and philosophy is said to originate from pressure from the rank and file police and to be predicated on likely "marauding terrorist attack", whether genuine or not.

This then has to be read in conjunction with an announcement by David Cameron only three months later of at least four hundred more armed police deployed to cities outside London around the clock. This it was stated was to combat British terror threat in wake of Paris attacks. (see: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/isis-terror-threat-britain-david-cameron-armed-police-extra-forces-after-paris-brussels-attacks-a6962871.html)

As I have shown elsewhere, there is a huge amount of factual and circumstantial evidence to suggest much of the Paris event was contrived and falsified to support both foreign and domestic policy objectives. That wholesale militarisation of the British police should be based on such dubious grounds is alarming to say the least.

As can be seen in this next image, of the four stop/sting vehicles, the white van was not a marked police vehicle either. 
Police forensics officers examine a silver Audi with bullet holes in its windscreen near junction J24

The question we need now to ask is, whether the recent spate of fatal shootings by police is a manifestation of this shift?

We might note in this most recent case of the M62 shooting the car targeted was a an Audi A4. A second car immediately behind it, a VW Scirocco, appears to have suffered a hole in the rear near side quarter light, a strange location and presumably from a bullet? So we may suppose two target cars were stopped. Significantly in the image of the dead man below there is a Scirocco that may match the second car. 

We are told three men were arrested at this scene. However we must assume this was in addition to the dead man, so we may also assume perhaps there were two men in each car, with Yacub driving, or in the front passenger seat, in the first of the two - the Audi not the Scirocco.

Clearly none of the targets had exited their cars when they were surrounded by officers and Yacub was shot from the front through the windscreen with three very purposeful bullets. We must also assume therefore that the person that fired the shots came from in front of the Mercedes saloon that had physically trapped the Audi. 

Needless to say the other three were not shot at, though arrested at gun point. If it was possible to do so to them, why was fatal force used against Yacub - surely not a settling of scores?

(As an aside early this morning I noted a tweet from the Jerusalem post regarding the incident: "If you don't want to be shot dead, don't carry a gun. Simple." However some eight hours later I can find no trace of it and kick myself I didn't copy at the time. I thought it rather strange that the Jerusalem Post should take such interest in an event so far away and unrelated to domestic concerns. It also demonstrated a certain approach  that appears to be becoming prevalent in British policing.)

Now as to the police vehicles as shown in the photograph below it can be seen that at least four were involved in the operation, none of which as far as can be seen marked patrol vehicles. 

The first is a high powered Mercedes silver saloon as in the image below in which can also be seen the smashed near-side passenger door to the Audi A4. The open passenger door of the Sirocco can be seen behind.


Here is a close image of the bullet holes in the windscreen , clearly aimed at the driver.


In the next aerial image the general formation can be seen and what appears to be the BMW X5 police vehicle immediately behind the Mercedes. 


Behind that is another BMW saloon (3 or 5 Series) better viewed in this image though still partially obscured by the car in front: 


Then as can be seen in the next image, bringing up the rear is a police van which presume is marked as such in contrast to the other vehicles. Also it can be seen a further (at least) nine vehicles were deployed. Note also two what appear to be two black cars or people carriers parked in such a way to suggest they are part of the operation - even perhaps undertakers vehicles. No ambulance is visible.


There is an ambulance in this composite image however:


Note no evidence of any personnel visible on scene at this time.

So from all this we may deduce at least four police vehicles and eight officers were involved in the original sting, shooting and arrests. The estimate of officers is probably conservative as the van probably held six at least. What proportion were trained armed officers we do not know, but given the circumstances we may assume this was a carefully planned operation by the West Midlands armed unit and all were so equipped.

One interesting detail, a witness said there was a police Jaguar at the scene. Of course they could have mistaken one of the BMW's for a Jaguar, but if not it is missing, as are the officers who were probably involved in the operation so presumably they were swiftly removed from the scene, leaving their vehicles behind.

These extracts are taken from: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/m62-shooting-huddersfield-yassar-yaqub-west-yorkshire-police-killing-death-gun-a7507126.html

A police spokesman said: "During a pre-planned policing operation near to the M62 in Huddersfield a police firearm was discharged and a man has died.

The incident is the fifth fatal police shooting in England and Wales in the past nine months and the first involving West Yorkshire Police since 2010.

A firearm has been found in the car of a man who was shot dead by police during a "pre-planned operation" in West Yorkshire
The man has been named locally as 27-year-old father-of-two Mohammed Yassar Yaqub.
West Yorkshire Police said the operation was not terror-related and instead was instead connected to criminal possession of a firearm. 
The force said its operation was "related to information received about criminal possession of a firearm, as a result of which vehicles were stopped at two separate locations."

Father-of-two Mohammed Yassar Yaqub, 27, was shot dead by police (Facebook) NOTE CAR IN BACKGROUND

Five people were arrested as part of the operation: three at the scene of the shooting, and another two were arrested in Bradford.
At the scene on the M62, a silver Audi with bullet holes in its windscreen was surrounded by other vehicles at the bottom of the off-slip of the westbound carriageway.
Photographs of the scene show three bullet holes visible through the car's front windscreen.

Police forensics officers examine a silver Audi with bullet holes in its windscreen at the scene near junction J24 of the M62 in Huddersfield (PA )

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been informed as a matter of course, and the force says it is “fully co-operating” with the watchdog's investigation.
The IPCC said a post-mortem examination on Mr Yaqub's body is due to take place on Wednesday and its investigators are continuing to seek any relevant CCTV footage.
A silver Audi with bullet holes in its windscreen at the scene near junction J24 of the M62 in Huddersfield (PA)
Witnesses reported seeing “five or six” police cars, a Mercedes E-Class and a Jaguar at the scene.
In 2010 a Yassar Yaqub from Rudding Street went on trial after it was claimed that he opened fire on a car in Birkby Hall Road in Huddersfield.
But the defendant was acquitted of attempted murder after a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence.
People living close to Rudding Street said on Tuesday that Mr Yaqub's house was targeted by gunmen more than a year ago.
In June 2015, police said they were looking for three men after two people were hit when a shotgun was fired in Rudding Street as children played.
Officers said at the time that at least two men wearing balaclava masks approached the two victims and shots were fired.
The victims managed to run off and were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Police described this incident as a “targeted attack”.
Nadeem Murtuja, chair of the human rights and racial justice campaign group JUST Yorkshire, called on West Yorkshire Police to disclose to the IPCC the full chain of events that led to the shooting.
He said: “There is a great deal of disquiet in the community about the death of Mr Yaqub and it is crucial that both his family and the Huddersfield community are kept informed about the conduct of the investigation and the events that led to the fatal shooting.”


  1. From: http://news.sky.com/story/m62-police-shooting-like-something-in-america-mohammed-yaqubs-family-say-10718403

    The father of a man shot dead by police on a motorway slip road has told Sky News he believes it was a "pre-planned assassination".

    Mohammed Yassar Yaqub died after being shot at junction 24, just north of Huddersfield on Monday at around 6pm.

    But his father, also called Mohammed Yaqub, told Sky News his son did not pose a threat to the police.

    When asked asked why the police would have opened fire unless they felt he presented a threat he said: "I don't feel like he was a risk at all. I believe he was a target and it was a pre-planned assassination."

  2. NOT ME: "This man was a lowlife drug dealer who routinely carried firearms & has been arrested several times for suspicion of murder, manslaughter, firearms offences including drive by shootings...why you talking about shooting all immigrants? He wasnt an immigrant. Why you talking about shooting all unemployed? He wasnt unemployed. Theres a reason he was being followed by armed police on the night of the shooting & it wasnt for nonpayment of car-tax. When you live that sort of lifestyle you know the risks...he did; look at his house...20 cctv cameras situated on every surface. Don't make this into something that it isnt...dont romanticise it...he was one vile individual."

    In resposnse to this fairly common attitude on Facebook I replied:

    Did you know him personally? You write as if you do. If not presumably you are just reiterating what you have read in the press. I am surprised as a qualified counsellor you jump to judgement of others so quickly and with so little sceptism. How are you sure he was a "low-life drug dealer who routinely carried firearms"? Even if correct we have to acknowledge that drugs are big business whether legal or illegal, and people in their millions are stupid enough to demand them across all sectors of society. As long as there is demand, there will be people to meet it and must take the LEGAL consequences. Assassinating people is NOT a legal method. Your approach assumes a moral basis because there is certainly no legal justification. So your moral position presumably is that because he is allegedly a low-life drug dealer, who allegedly carries a gun, and has lots of cameras on his house (we all acknowledge that illegal drug dealing is a very risky business) he does not deserve due process? To support he and his ilk can be shot on sight by people in uniform is not a strong moral position I would suggest, to judge someone else. To kill another person without justification, and the only justification could be that the officer's life was put in danger, is undoubtedly murder. To excuse murder whilst condemning drug dealing is a strange ethical position to take. In fact the one negates the other. A gun was apparently found in the footwell of the passenger side. Leaving aside the possibility of planting, an activity not limited to gardeners, this in itself would confirm the officer was in no danger. In any event even with a weapon in his hand (as I forecast will be claimed) to fire from a stationary car through a windscreen whilst surrounded by armed officers would be as difficult as it would be stupid. And you can be sure that had that happened the marksman would not have stopped at just one target. The fact that the other three were arrested without being shot, though no doubt this being an armed raid, they surrendered under the threat of it, is proof that the fatal shooting of one was unnecessary and probably premeditated. The very specific cluster of three bullet holes in the windscreen are proof of that. As someone immersed in psychology you must have come across the "slippery slope" argument. As soon as you justify the police acting in this manner, targeting individuals for assassination, we are indeed as a society, on one.

  3. Now just a couple of corrections that need to be made to your assertions about the man shot dead. He wasn't charged with murder but ATTEMPTED murder seven years ago. There's a significant difference and by virtue of the judge's direction, he was found NOT guilty to that. Then a year ago the shooting to which you refer, claiming it was by him, was in fact aimed AT him or his family. Now we have two versions in relation to the car in which he was shot. First reports stated he was driving, and this certainly appears to be supported by the location of the three bullet holes if they were the fatal ones, but the Telegraph report I have just read states he was in the passenger seat, which of course accords more closely to the claimed located gun. That conflicting account starts to look iffy to me. It is clear that the passenger door window was also smashed, by what means we do not know, nor have we been told the total number of bullets fired - i.e. whether the three in the windscreen were the only ones of if the injuries to Mr Yaqub's chest were limited to three or more from another direction. The press for some reason have concentrated almost exclusively on only the FIRST of two cars, the second also sustaining a broken window, in which we assume were two of the three arrested. It will be interesting to see whether all those arrested, including the two elsewhere in Bradford will be named. Violence was obviously applied as some or all were hospitalised with unspecified injuries. I should like to point out I am not suggesting Mr Yaqub was a good man; he may indeed as you suggest have been a very bad man; I am in no position to know one way or another. But we still have a system in this country that states that courts decide on guilt or innocence to specified charges; that individuals are innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution; and only duly appointed judges are permitted to pass sentence. Incidentally the country also decided to stop executing criminals even where they had been proved guilty of heinous crime. In this system it is the role of the police to arrest using REASONABLE force, to investigate and to charge in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service. It is NOT to be judge, jury and executioner on their own cognisance. That is a recipe for disaster and one wonders if the greater frequency with which this is happening is not an intentional device by government both to make worse the division and violence in society, and to inure the attitude of the public to it? As to your concern for children at risk from violence and drugs I share it but do you think officially sanctioned police assassination squads will increase respect for them or the law? Remember he was the father of two children that have lost their dad. Doesn't that deserve sympathy and condemnation also?

  4. I guess you are probably right Mark. But that begs the question, there must be literally THOUSANDS that fall into that category potentially. This sort of targeted assassination is rare but appears to be becoming less so. To me it has a very personal ring to it. It wasn't an arrest that went wrong, or an officer reacting to an assumed threat over hastily. This was a sting in which armed officers appear to have known in advance who the target was and what they intended to do. Who knows what has gone on in the background of which we are unaware and what is not revealed? Four vehicles were detailed for the sting so that's at least EIGHT armed officers and probably more given the unmarked police van. They must have been monitoring the two cars well in advance and had a rough idea where it was going to happen. Witnesses said there were "swarms" of police and a Jaguar, but they all and it disappear by the time uniformed cops and photographers arrive. They were they say acting on information received. In other words they had someone working for them on the inside so to speak. It is not unknown for the police themselves to be beneficiaries of the drug trade and the WMP have had a bad record for corruption in the past. I am not suggesting this was a factor here but no rational person, given the extreme action taken, could rule it out could they?


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