Media Media releases JERMAINE BAKER: Public inquiry report issues ‘a loud wake-up call to a newly appointed commissioner’ 5 July 2022 The report of the Jermaine Baker Public Inquiry has identified a catalogue of the most damning failures by the Metropolitan Police Service from the moment the operation was conceived, throughout its planning and right through to its implementation on the morning of 11 December 2015 when Jermaine was fatally shot. However, it has fallen short of expectations by concluding that Jermaine was lawfully killed and finding the failures identified did not contribute to his death. Key issues identified include the following: Jermaine and associates had plans to intercept the transport of a prisoner, Izzet Eren. The overarching criticism is that those in command decided at the outset to allow the prison van to take Izzet Eren to Wood Green Crown Court to be sentenced in order that the police could intercept those who would be present to assist his escape. This was based on a ‘delusional’ idea that the operation could rid the streets of North London of firearms; The judge concluded that ‘…whatever lip service may have been paid to considering other options, there was never in reality more than one.’ Having made that decision the officers failed to inform agencies that were directly affected by the plan to let the escape run, namely the prison holding Izzet Eren, Wood Green Crown Court and Serco which would be involved in transporting him. The judge found that these failures involved directly misleading the Court and the prison and occurred because the senior officers did not want those agencies to thwart the plan. Unsurprsingly the judge found that the conduct of the officers “was indicative of an arrogant, dismissive attitude towards formality and a failure to appreciate the importance of accountability”. This also revealed itself in his finding that the only steps taken by DCI Williams to minimise the risks to all persons potentially affected by the operation was to establish a geographical tipping point that meant that the Audi would never come into contact with the Serco van. Equally unsurprisingly therefore he concluded that ‘powers and policies and European Convention on Human Rights principles were given, at best, scant regard; “‘DCI Williams had, as TFC [Tactical Firearms Commander], an agenda without sufficient consideration for Article 2 [Convention] principles; ‘The planning of operation Ankaa fell short of that which would have been reasonable, in particular having regard to the need to minimise to the greatest possible extent the risk to life’. The judge also found ‘There were several instances where efforts were made – which could only be described as examples of institutional defensiveness – to justify what others might see as a blurring of roles or an extensive level of incompetence.’ The judge concluded that the Control room set up to manage the operation on the morning of 11 December was incompetently established and run and ‘not fit for purpose’. The most damming finding is that the audio equipment which enabled officers to listen to what was being said in the Audi was not properly installed. Had it been it would have been known that the occupants of the vehicle were only in possession of an imitation firearm. Instead, and again through failings on the part of DC Williams and others, the message relayed to the officers left them believing that the occupants were definitely armed with a real firearm. Because the senior officers were intent on letting the operation run as long as possible they failed to recognise that they had enough evidence to make arrests an hour before the firearms officers intervened, failed during that hour to gather any evidence that would have assisted the firearms officers in understanding the environment in which the vehicle was parked and where the arrests would be made. The chair also expressed serious concern that police officers have been able to avoid disciplinary proceedings. Margaret Smith, Jermaine’s mother, said: “Jermaine was dead before he got in that car. His life was taken for no good reason – as I have always said he should have gone to prison like the rest of the men in the car. I therefore cannot agree with the judge’s conclusions that Jermaine did not die as a result of these failures. That is a conclusion that I can not understand and the judge has not explained why he has drawn that conclusion. After seven years of waiting and two months of evidence we deserved more.” Michael Oswald, solicitor for the family, said: “Given the extent of these failings and the obvious role they must have played in Jermaine’s death, the family is at a total loss to understand how the judge can have come to the conclusion that Jermaine did not die as a result of those failures. The judge’s findings in relation to W80 are ones which cause the family acute concern. They cannot comprehend how in the face of the expert evidence and common sense the judge can have found that Jermaine was moving his hands towards his man bag when W80 shot him. In light of this extraordinary finding the family can only conclude that the judge wanted to do all he could to exonerate W80.” Anita Sharma, Head of Casework at INQUEST, said: “It’s difficult to comprehend how such catastrophic failings were not assessed by the judge to have contributed to Jermaine’s death. As the Metropolitan Police is subject to special measures, this report is yet more evidence of the systemic failures of this force, and harmful policing practices nationally. We must see accountability for those involved in Jermaine’s death, to send a message to police leadership and officers that they are not above the law. The failure to hold police to account breeds impunity which ultimately allows deaths and harms to continue. Scrutiny of previous fatal police shootings has revealed serious failings in firearms operational planning, intelligence, and communication. There has been an institutional failure to enact change, which cannot continue.” ENDS NOTES TO EDITORS For further information and INQUEST interview requests please contact Lucy McKay on [email protected] or 07875294225 For family interview requests please contact the family solicitor Michael Oswald on [email protected] (copying in Lucy) or 0207 033 2018 INQUEST has been working with the family of Jermaine Baker since his death. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Michael Oswald, Amy Ooi, and Joanna Khan of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, Phillippa Kaufmann QC of Matrix Chambers, and Fiona Murphy of Doughty Street Chambers. They are supported by Head of Casework at INQUEST, Anita Sharma. The other core participants of the inquiry were the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), Metropolitan Police Service, National Crime Agency, and the officer who shot Jermaine who is known as W80. For more information visit the official inquiry website: jermaine-baker.public-inquiry.uk CASE TIMELINE 11 December 2015: Jermaine Baker is fatally shot by a Metropolitan police officer in Wood Green. 5 October 2016: High Court ruled a senior officer involved in Jermaine Baker’s shooting should be allowed to retire, despite being under Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation for alleged gross misconduct. This followed the family’s judicial review on this. See media release. 14 June 2017: Crown Prosecution Service announced their decision not to prosecute the police officer who fatally shot Jermaine. 19 March 2018: Crown Prosecution Service confirmed its decision not to prosecute the police officer, following the family’s application for a Victim’s Right to Review. See media release. 17 May 2018: Independent Office for Police Misconduct (IOPC, formerly IPCC) directed the Metropolitan Police Service to hold gross misconduct proceedings on the actions of the officer that fatally shot Jermaine Baker. See media release. 17 February 2020: The Home Secretary Priti Patel announced an independent public inquiry, under the Inquiries Act 2005, to investigate the circumstances of the death. See written statement. 9 October 2020: W80 challenged the IOPC direction of the Metropolitan Police to bring gross misconduct proceedings against them. After various hearings in various courts, the Court of Appeal gave clarification on the legal test to be applied when determining whether police officers’ use of force will amount to misconduct. This decision meant that W80 would face proceedings for gross misconduct, however he is pursuing a further legal challenge in the Supreme Court. See media release. June - September 2021: The Jermaine Baker Public Inquiry opened and the substantive evidence was heard. See media release. 13 December 2021: W80 was granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in the case around misconduct. This is due to be heard in October 2022.