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Today the Government has published its formal response to the Anthony Grainger Public Inquiry and a copy will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Anthony Grainger was shot dead on 3 March 2012 by an armed firearms officer of Greater Manchester Police as part of the covert investigation named Operation Shire. A public inquiry was announced by the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, in March 2016 to ascertain the circumstances surrounding Mr Grainger’s death.
I would like to thank His Honour Judge Teague for publishing his report and for leading this important work, from which we have learnt valuable lessons for the future. The previous Home Secretary Sajid Javid committed to provide a formal response, once the Government had fully considered the report, and any recommendations therein and we are now in a position to do so.
The Government accepts the Inquiry’s recommendation to the Home Office concerning the authorisation of new weapon systems. A revised Code of Practice for Armed Policing and Less Lethal Weapons was published by the College of Policing on 14 January 2020 making clear that all new less lethal weapons and specialist munitions for use by police forces in England and Wales, and all significant changes to these weapons, must be approved by the Home Secretary.
The majority of the AGI’s recommendations related to operational policing and these are matters on which Chief Officers are independent of Government. Nonetheless my officials engaged with the National Police Chiefs Council and Greater Manchester Police to ensure that they have responded to the concerns raised by the Inquiry and understand their plans to improve the safety of armed policing operations. Their responses have reassured me that lessons have been learnt to improve the safety of armed policing operations in the seven years since the death of Anthony Grainger.
These included developing and maintaining a national register of recommendations and lessons from inquests, investigations and inquiries; reviewing and improving the collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence; and reviewing and improving the arrangements for the deployment of armed officers. I would like to thank the National Chiefs Police Council, Greater Manchester Police, HMICFRS and the College of Policing for their co-operation in responding to the Inquiry and the work that they have done to implement learning.
The police use of firearms, as with any use of force, must be necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances. It is essential that decisions by the police to use force of any kind are subject to proper scrutiny.
Our sympathy remains with Anthony Grainger’s family who have lost a loved one.
The Response to the Anthony Grainger Inquiry will be available to view on Gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/response-to-the-anthony-grainger-public-inquiry