This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mark Duggan Inquest: and the Mayor says...

I hesitate to blog on this issue for number of reasons:
  1. I don't have the time to read the full transcript or the report of the inquest without stopping doing many other things that I regard as more important to me. In this respect, I am pretty ignorant of the whole case. I am happy to admit that.
  2. A jury of 10 'ordinary' people sat in a court room for 3 months and came to conclusion that Mark Duggan's death was 'lawful'. Even if I fulfilled point 1, I doubt whether I could be justified in coming to an alternative conclusion. Somethings were said in that courtroom that convinced the jury that even though most of them did not believe he was carrying a gun at the time he was shot, his death was still lawful. 
  3. Nonetheless huge questions remain about the facts and conduct of many of those involved. This storify set of tweets is enough to set my mind racing. As is this wikipedia entry. Regardless of the inquest result, it would seem to me that serious errors of judgement were made in hours and days following the shooting of Mr Duggan. (This is another moment, when I hope better decisions are taken.)
  4. This is topic that is polarising people although unlike @LouiseMensch I don't think it breaks down into simple party lines. And the inquest result, like Mr Duggan's death, has huge latent symbolic power. And whilst I am not a person to shy away from controversy, I really don't want to add to the heat of this one. 
And then I come across this random selection of tweets this morning, which almost in a nutshell, sum up the diversity of opinion over the result of the inquest.

But in the spirit of this blog, I will ask what has been and what should be the role of the elected PCC for London in this matter? This of course is Mayor Boris Johnson supported by the Deputy Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh. What have they said about this? Should they have said more by now?

I cannot find any public statement from Mr Greenhalgh. (I am happy to be corrected.) The only statement I can find from the Mayor is this one. It appears that Mr Johnson was caught on route to another meeting and asked to give a statement. In other words no official written statement has been issued it seems. (Again, I am happy to be corrected.)

This is clearly an operational matter and perhaps the political leadership of the Met Police are staying mostly clear in order to allow the operational chief, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, to front the matter. I do not know.

Nonetheless, I think I would have expected more. If many people (perhaps hundreds, if not thousands) are expressing their great distrust in the police and/or their belief that the shooting of Mark Duggan is yet another example of institutional racism, then this is a huge political problem. And this is a problem that will not be solved by water cannons, hanging from zip wires or just setting up yet another task force. Some dedicated leadership from many quarters is required, not least from the Mayor and his Deputy.

I await to see what Mayor Johnson and Deputy Mayor Greenhalgh do next...

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