Following the details of the IPCC investigation into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, leaked earlier this week, there is a new BPIX poll in today’s Mail on Sunday. When it first emerged that Mr de Menezes was not a terrorist public support for the “shoot to kill” policy remained pretty much unchanged. A YouGov survey for the Mirror immediately after the shooting when it was still thought Mr de Menezes was a terrorist showed 71% support for the policy; a YouGov poll a few days later for the Economist when it was clear that Mr de Menezes was innocent showed an almost identical 70% support.

The revelations earlier this week that Mr de Menezes was, in fact, not wearing a bulky jacket, nor did he run from the police, or leap over a ticket barrier and he may not even have been warned have finally started to change public opinion: only 58% of people told BPIX they supported the shoot to kill policy, with 28% thinking it wrong. While this is still obviously an overall majority, it is a significant fall from earlier levels of support.

There was also a fall in support for Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair. In the days immediately following the London bombings BPIX found that 68% of people had confidence in Sir Ian Blair – following this week’s disclosures, confidence has fallen to only 54%. In July 23% said they had little or no confidence in Blair, that figure has now risen to 40%. BPIX also asked people directly whether or not Sir Ian Blair should resign over the police’s handling of the shooting – almost a quarter said he should, with 60% saying he should stay on.

While BPIX asked a number of other questions, the full details are sadly not available in the Mail on Sunday. From the article accompanying it though it seems that the survey also showed a fall in people’s confidence in the Prime Minister’s ability to cope with the terrorist treat. Back at the beginning of July 57% said they were confident in his ability, this has now dipped below half to 49% (the Mail on Sunday says this is a “dramatic” fall – given the public’s tendency to rally behind the government in the immediate aftermath of such an atrocity, it really isn’t. Realistically a slight fall was to be expected. They could well be right, however, to attribute part of the fall to the Prime Minister’s absence from the country).

BPIX also asked what should happen to the police who shot Mr de Menezes, and who should bear responsibility for his death. Regarding the policemen who actually shot Mr de Menezes, 59% said they should be allowed to get on with their work as usual (or receive commendations for their courage), 12% said they should be charged with murder. On the second question the Mail on Sunday says that slightly over a quarter of respondents said the responsibility for Mr De Menezes’ death lies with the bombers, while only 15% said it was the fault of the actual policemen. Who the other 60% of respondents blamed the Mail on Sunday simply doesn’t say, while respondents were presumably offered the opportunity to blame the police hierarchy, the government and so on, the Mail on Sunday hasn’t seen fit to tell us the results – which is a shame.


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