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‘Arrogant’ and ‘secretive’ police force to blame for death of Anthony Grainger, says judge

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Issue 2663
Anthony Grainger
Anthony Grainger

Incompetent and lying police were entirely responsible for the death of Anthony Grainger in 2012.

They killed him because of “seriously misleading” intelligence and leadership by commanding officers who were not “occupationally competent.”

That is the conclusion of an inquiry published on Thursday.

But the report found the shooting was not unlawful. And it stops short of recommending any further action against any of the police officers involved.

Anthony was behind the wheel of a car in Cheshire when a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officer, referred to in court as Q9, fired a submachine gun and killed him.

The report details how two other rounds were fired at the car’s tyres. A CS gas canister, which had not been tested or approved by the Home Office, was thrown into the vehicle by another officer.

Q9 told the court from behind a screen in 2017 that he believed Anthony had reached down as if to grab a firearm.

But no firearms were found on Anthony or in the vehicle in March 2012.

The inquiry found Anthony was probably reaching for the door handle to get out of the car.

Anthony and one of his two passengers, David Totton, had for some weeks been the subject of a police operation, Operation Shire. This was investigating their claimed involvement in robberies.

Judge Thomas Teague said police were using an “existing profile” for Anthony which had been prepared for “unrelated investigations”.

It included “serious inaccuracies, presenting a distorted and in some respects exaggerated picture of the threat Mr Grainger presented”.

In fact there was “no intelligence” to suggest Anthony was “armed or had immediate access to firearms”.

Commanding officers “lacked the requisite level of professional competence”, and planning was “inadequate and ineffective”.

The report found that officers had misled the Inquiry when giving evidence. It also found that GMP had previously misled the Crown Court when it was prosecuted for Health and Safety offences which were stayed.

Further, they failed to keep contemporaneous records of their decisions.

Q9 was particularly criticised for asserting in evidence that he would not do anything differently if presented with the same situation.


Judge Teague said the force had a culture of “secrecy” and “arrogant disdain for the views of others,” repeatedly seeking not to disclose relevant material.

He also said that its tactical firearms unit had a “general disinclination” to expose its decisions and actions to external scrutiny—a culture he believes persists.

Anthony’s family issued a statement after the result of the inquiry was released. It said, “The damning report catalogues dishonesty and corruption at the highest level of GMP. Senior officers lied to the Inquiry.

“They provided evidence intended to mislead and to obscure the truth, and have reconstructed evidence to deflect personal criticism.

“The failings extend to the very top of GMP with two Assistant Chief Constables criticised for giving misleading evidence.”

Gail Hadfield-Grainger, Anthony’s partner, said,“It has taken seven years but some justice has been done today for Anthony.

“It also exposes that even now in 2019, Greater Manchester Police is unfit to control firearms operations. This is a scandal, which places other lives at risk.

“I have waited seven years for an apology from the chief constable. I am still waiting.”

Anthony’s mother, Marina Schofield, called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

She said, “No mother should face that knock on the door to hear that the police have shot and killed her son.

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