Scotland Yard sharpshooter miffed at being called serial killer

July 6th, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 6 (IANS) Scotland Yard’s very own 007 is angry that he was jokingly called a serial killer by a colleague. The force thought it best to compensate him financially to keep the matter under wraps. This happened in 2006 but the disclosure comes now. The Metropolitan Police (Met) told The Sunday Times that the sharpshooter had accepted 5,000 pounds in settlement.

The expensive joke was made by Commander Sue Akers, a highly regarded Met officer, who is in charge of Scotland Yard’s fight against gun crime.

Akers’ faux pas came at a social function when she introduced herself to the firearms officer with the words: “I’ve always wanted to meet the Met’s very own serial killer.” The officer is a member of the elite CO19 firearms unit and has shot dead a number of suspects in his career.

Colleagues say he failed to see the funny side of her remarks. Akers was said to have been distraught at his reaction and later made a formal apology. However, “Killer”, as he is said to be actually known, insisted his feelings had been hurt. He filed a formal complaint about the joke.

The Met agreed to the payout after it found the legal costs could come to at least 150,000 pounds. A senior official said: “We made an economic decision to settle.”

The payment disclosure comes barely two months before the inquest into the shooting dead of an innocent bystander, Jean Charles de Menezes, at London tube station after the four failed bomb attacks in July, 2005. The shooting cops thought he was a terrorist.

The Met has been the target of criticism since the incident, though many members of the armed response teams say their professional split-second judgments are questioned by critics who have perfect hindsight.

The Met’s dedicated firearms unit goes back to the murder in 1966 of three plain-clothes officers who had challenged armed robbers. It has grown to encompass more than 530 officers who carry out 24-hour patrols in London in armed response vehicles known as Trojans that deal with hostage taking and terrorism.

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