We Can't Shoot to Wound; Facing Inquiry: Police Marksmen outside the Flat Owned by Mark Saunders, below Right, in Markham Square. Met Chief Sir Ian Blair Said the Idea of a Shoot-to-Wound Policy Was "Fictional"

Article excerpt

Byline: JUSTIN DAVENPORT

MET Commissioner Sir Ian Blair today defended the actions of policefirearms officers in the wake of the Markham Square shooting, saying the ideaof being able to "shoot to wound" was "fiction".

Barrister Mark Saunders was killed by marksmen at his [pounds sterling]2.2 million flat inChelsea after firing a shotgun at passers-by and police.

The 32-year-old fired his gun from the windows of his home into neighbouringhouses after apparently going on a drinking session in the middle of the day.

There were questions over the shooting after it emerged that he had sufferedfive gunshot wounds and a total of nine marksmen had opened fire.

Mr Saunders's parents, Rodney and Rosemary, asked why it had not been possiblefor police to bring the 6 May siege to a peaceful end.

One firearms expert told the Evening Standard that police should explore a newpolicy in armed standoffs to allow trained snipers in certain situations towound a gunman before capturing him.

Today Sir Ian said the idea that you could shoot someone in the arm to disablethem was not practical.

He said: "The idea of being able to shoot to wound is fictional.

For a start if you shoot someone in a limb it does not stop them using theother limb to shoot back.

"You are only going to be shooting at somebody who is shooting at you who isposing an immediate threat to you or someone else." He also dismissed an ideaof pouring some kind of gas into the house which would knock out the gunman."This is just not in our armoury," he said, comparing the plan with thedisastrous Russian police operation at the Beslan school siege which ended withthe deaths of 331 people.

The Markham Square incident is now being investigated by the Independent PoliceComplaints Commission. …