Statement by Mayor on IPCC report

7 August 2007

The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said:

“Jean Charles de Menezes's death was a tragedy. He was a further victim of the results of the bomb attacks on London on July 7 2005 and our thoughts and sympathies go out to Jean Charles de Menezes’ family at this very difficult time. We are aware that for them personally the loss is irreplaceable, whatever the wider circumstances.

“But it is important for all our future safety to remember the circumstances under which the Met Police were operating during those weeks. London had faced the worst terrorist attack in its history, followed just two weeks later by further attempted bombings. The professionalism and bravery of the police, in risking their lives to protect our capital, were second to none. All Londoners depended on their judgement and courage.

“These were exceptional times and, while lessons on improvements and communication of course can and should be made in future, the police had one overriding imperative – to protect Londoners. As one who has, on other occasions, raised issues in which police have acted incorrectly, I want to state clearly that in this case, I see no evidence other than that they were seeking to protect Londoners. This was in the most difficult circumstances, amidst strain, and with a responsibility for literally life or death issues that the public can scarcely imagine. Jean Charles de Menezes’ death was a tragedy that flowed from the terrorist attacks on London. Those who launched the bombs on July 7 and those behind the attempted attacks on July 21 bear the prime responsibility for his death.

“A vicious campaign was launched in sections of the media against Sir Ian Blair at the time and I remained absolutely confident that he would be fully exonerated by the IPCC. It is for this reason I gave him my full support. I am pleased that the IPCC report fully confirms this.

“The threat of terrorism has not gone away, as the recent attempted attacks on central London and Glasgow show. The safety of all of us rests on London's communities working together and supporting the anti-terrorist work of the MPS. The tragedy of Jean Charles de Menezes’ death must not be used to undermine the co-operation of all communities with the police and those who seek to use it in this way to undermine co-operation with the police in fact endanger Londoners.”