Byline: Daniel Boffey
POLICE marksmen involved in the shooting of barrister Mark Saunders are at the centre of fresh controversy after it was revealed that Scotland Yard has ordered a probe into the widely criticised practice of conferring over notes.
The revelation follows the recent failed attempt by Mr Saunders' sister Charlotte to have the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into his killing ruled unlawful because officers talked between themselves before providing statements.
Deputy Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson ordered the study from Portsmouth University's criminal studies department after divorce expert Mr Saunders died. It will examine the entire process of notemaking and the way evidence is recalled by officers - and the Metropolitan
Police is prepared to make changes based on its findings.
Mr Saunders, who had been firing a shotgun from his Chelsea flat, was shot 11 times by seven marksmen during a five-hour siege in May.
It is expected that the officers involved will be found to have acted within the law following the completion of the IPCC investigation.
Conferring over notes is currently allowed by the Association of Chief Police Officers' Manual Of Guidance On The Police Use Of Firearms.
The decision to order a study was made during a Metropolitan Police Authority meeting to discuss the implications of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes - but by the time of the meeting, 32-year-old Mr Saunders had also been shot dead. A source said: 'It was felt that at this stage we need to be looking at this.' The move will be viewed by many as an admission by the Met that conferring must end. …