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IACP Recommends Head Shots for Suicide Bombers

August 05, 2005  | 

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has produced a report recommending taking out suspected suicide bombers with a shot to the head, changing the common tactic of aiming for the torso. The new tactic was agreed upon to eliminate the danger of cops’ bullets detonating bombs strapped to a terrorist’s chest.

Just two weeks after the report was released, London Metropolitan Police used seven shots to the head to kill a man wearing a heavy coat in the London Underground who they mistakenly believed to be a suicide bomber. The man, Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, was later found to be innocent. The incident occurred the day after three people tried to blow up three Tube trains and a bus in London.

While many civilians worried about the Metro’s use of the “shoot-to-kill” policy in the aftermath of de Menezes’ death, the IACP’s report shows agreement from international law enforcement officials on the tactic to deal with the current terrorist threat.

The report details ways to identify suicide bombers, with such signs as heavy clothing, walking with an unusual gait, or evident irritability, sweating, or tunnel vision.

Guidelines in the report state, “If lethal force is justified, all shots should be aimed at a bomber’s head – specifically, at the tip of the nose when facing the bomber, at the point of the ear canal from the side, or about one inch below the base of the skull from behind.”

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