The Met are a disgrace to the police force?! Let me find my shocked face.3:40 pm - 11/24/2011
The IPCC inquiry into the shooting of Mark Duggan is shoddy. We need a new body willing and able to investigate the police
I have been engaging with the police since they accepted the findings of the Macpherson report, which identified institutional racism within the force. I became an independent (and unpaid) adviser to Operation Trident, the Met's specialist unit on so-called black gun crime. I also helped to set up the Black Independent Advisory Group, which meets with police locally, and chaired it for its first two years.
I engage with the police for one purpose: to improve the policing provided by the Met to the black community. I am no supporter of riots; a night of "payback" might seem like a good idea at the time, but it brings no long-term benefit to those who participate or to the area, which inevitably gets destroyed and further stigmatised.
Engaging with the Met when you come from a place like Tottenham has risks. Not least that you will be seen as a snitch or a grass by some within the community. To overcome this I have tended to look at past police operations rather than ongoing investigations. This way I can advise the police on how to handle similar inquiries in future, in a way that might involve and empower communities so they become willing partners, instead of cynical onlookers.
I imagine that most officers who have worked with me would describe the experience as very challenging. I make no apology for this. When Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick left her position as the operational commander for Trident she took me aside and said: "You are hard work, but do not stop doing what you do, the Met needs people like you to hold us to account!"
When the Independent Police Complaints Commission set up a community reference group (CRG) to oversee the investigation into the shooting of Mark Duggan I put myself forward. I believed that my background not only gave me credibility within the community, but would also ensure that the IPCC would do all it could to carry out a rigorous, transparent investigation. I signed a confidentiality agreement that I have honoured up until now. However, I have been compelled to resign from the CRG as the IPCC's investigation into the shooting of Duggan is unlikely to meet any of the criteria I set out.
The IPCC has broken its own guidelines by giving out erroneous information to journalists regarding the "shoot-out" involving Duggan and police that didn't actually happen. And its investigation is flawed and in all probability tainted – so much so that we can never have faith in its final report.
I discovered, within the community, that the minicab from which Duggan was taken seconds before he was shot, had been moved from the scene. This was long before the arrival of the IPCC investigators. When I brought this to the IPCC commissioner's attention she confessed to not knowing anything about it. This was some two months into the investigation. We were later informed by her that the police had wanted to give the vehicle back to its owner, and there was no forensic data on it.
It was later revealed that there was, in fact, forensic and other evidence, of major significance, in and on the vehicle. We were also told that the IPCC investigators had demanded it be brought back to the scene. Weeks after these revelations, we were told by a very embarrassed IPCC commissioner that her own investigators had sanctioned the removal of the vehicle – before they had even reached the crime scene.
It took three months for this to be revealed. It also took three weeks for the IPCC to realise that it had wrongly told journalists that police had been involved in a shoot-out with Duggan. We all know the impact that piece of misinformation has had, not only on Tottenham but on the whole country.
I believe that in removing the minicab from the scene, the police have clearly compromised the evidence. Given that the IPCC sanctioned the vehicle's removal, the entire investigation is now in doubt.
There is one final piece of outstanding investigative work that we need to put into the public arena. We were told that at least three officers had given a statement that they had witnessed another officer, a sergeant, throwing away the gun that was later found several feet from Duggan's body. When we sought to identify the officers involved, we were told there was no evidence to support the allegation – that this statement was in fact never given. Yet we were informed by the commissioner that it had been.
Last week a CRG meeting took place in the IPCC offices in central London. The commissioner wanted us there so she could explain away the concerns we had been raising. I and another CRG member, John Noblemunn, did not attend because we knew what would happen. The commission would seek to explain the inexplicable, or try to set up yet another investigation where they investigate themselves, which will then seek to explain the inexplicable.
In all of my years of engagement with the Met, I have yet to witness such a shoddy investigation. It is time we recognise that we need a body truly willing and able to investigate the police. This is the only way to ensure that they learn from their mistakes; and that, when mistakes occur, communities do not believe the one route to justice lies in taking matters into their own hands.
Met police Tasered man carrying toy gun on train
Scotland Yard says stun gun used on Justice Livingstone following reports of a man waving a weapon
Metropolitan police officers fired a Taser nine times at a man sitting on a train in the belief he was carrying a weapon in his briefcase.
Hogan-Howe said this week he wanted to see more Tasers in response cars and Scotland Yard has confirmed work is going on to review the availability of Tasers for its officers.
Hogan-Howe was challenged about his statement about Tasers by members of the Metropolitan Police Authority on Thursday.
In an at times rowdy exchange, MPA member Cindy Butts urged caution saying: "We will see ourselves sleepwalking into a style of policing we have fought long and hard to move away from."
But Jennette Arnold said she supported the use of Tasers. "If a Taser had been used in the incident with Mark Duggan [who was shot dead by police in Tottenham, north London in August] that man would be alive today," she said.
Justice Livingstone said he was Tasered four times to the chest and when that did not affect him, officers Tasered him three times to the back of the head and twice to his hand, as he sat on a train in Norwood Junction in south-east London last week.
When he was finally detained police found a toy gun inside his briefcase. Livingstone told the Guardian he had bought it earlier that day as a present for his son.
Police were called to the station after an emergency call from rail staff that there was a man on the platform waving what appeared to be a gun.
British Transport police, supported by firearms officers from the Met, arrived at the station and boarded the train.
BTP said Tasers were used by Met officers to restrain the man when he failed to comply with officers' requests to remain seated. Scotland Yard said a Taser was fired several times after the suspect moved towards officers while shouting and refusing to move his hands from his pockets.
The Met police and British Transport Police said the suspect was in possession of an "imitation" firearm.
Livingstone, who said he had no history of mental health problems, had bought the toy gun earlier for his son's birthday. "It was 99p," he said.
The father of two said he had been sitting on the train when he first saw officers. "I was sitting near an elderly English man and I asked if I could read his FT. I was sitting reading the FT when these four officers rushed on to the carriage.
"Someone sitting by me raised his hands and said: 'I've done nothing wrong.' I saw everyone in the carriage leaving, and I picked up my briefcase and paper to get up to leave.
"The police shouted: 'Sit down.' So I sat down patiently. They said: 'Open your briefcase,' which I did. They saw the toy gun. Then a male police officer opened fire with a gun which jammed.
"So then they jumped at me and used the Taser four times at my chest. That did not have any effect, I felt no current. They then held me down, grabbed on to my head and pinned me down and shot me in the back of the head with the Taser three times and I felt the current.
"They tied my legs and took me off the train to the platform."
Scotland Yard denied any other firearm had been used.
Livingstone said he was taken to a police station in Victoria where he claims officers made fun of what he was wearing – a long trench coat and black hat. He was stripped naked, he said, and refused access to a lawyer.
He was eventually sent to Bethlem Royal hospital in Beckenham where he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. But on Wednesday, after he made an appeal to the mental health tribunal, he was released and is now at his home in south London.
Scotland Yard said attempts to physically restrain the man had failed so a Taser was deployed.
The spokesman said the man was Tasered a number of times but this seemed to have no effect. Eventually, officers were able to physically restrain the man and he was removed from the train and into BTP custody, the Met said.
BTP said its officers were called along with the Met to reports that a man was on the platform waving a gun.
Livingstone said he would be making a formal complaint about his treatment.