Well, that didn’t take long, did it?
The IPCC released a statement today which cast further light on the way in which its instinctive reaction in the event of police shootings is to protect the officers involved.
It stated “… having reviewed the information the IPCC received and gave out during the very early hours of the unfolding incident, before any documentation had been received, it seems possible that we may have verbally led journalists to believe that shots were exchanged, as this was consistent with early information we received that an officer had been shot and taken to hospital. Any reference to an exchange of shots was not correct and did not feature in any of our formal statements, although an officer was taken to hospital after the incident.”
Given the unhealthy relationship between the media and the police which has been revealed by the News of the World scandal, it is obvious that no-one in the supposedly independent IPCC has learned any lessons since it’s chief, Moir Stewart, was implicated in exactly this kind of misleading briefing over the Jean Charles de Menezes killing.
This is in the wake of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report into the work of the IPCC which was highly critical of its predilection for hiring ex-police officers like Stewart as investigators. The conclusion is inescapable: rather than being independent, the IPCC is actually a shadow arm of the police service which thinks like the police and which perceives the world as the police do.
When people like Jean Charles de Menezes, Harry Stanley and Mark Duggan are shot in circumstances which are at best questionable and at worst actionably incompetent, that is unacceptable.
I don’t now much about the Mark Duggan shooting that has caused last night’s Tottenham riots because I haven’t been able to keep up with the news on my Poland trip. However, I am rather suspicious of statements made by the IPCC about “people needing answers” when that IPCC is led by Moir Stewart, the aide of commissioner Ian Blair who was roundly criticised for failing to release information to his superiors which proved Jean Charles de Menezes was an innocent man and not a suspected terrorist, and who was at the centre of allegations that the public were misled about the progress of the de Menezes investigations.
With the hacking scandal revealing a culture of corruption and mutual back-slapping in the police force, it’s hardly surprising that Tottenham residents have reacted with such distrust to a system that seems to favour armed police and to routinely deny justice. The IPCC had better get this one right. Or, then again, they can just do their usual whitewash in the knowledge that memories fade and any police officer implicated in culpable negligence or, worse, wrongdoing will eventually get the promotion this corrupt system believes they deserve.
News that Moir Stewart – criticised by the IPCC for failings during the early investigation of the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting because of suggestions that he delayed crucial information that indicated an innocent man had been shot – has now been appointed as director of investigations at the same IPCC seems unbelievably crass and insensitive.
You would think that the authorities, having got off the hook time and time again over the shooting, despite a damning inquest verdict last year, would keep their heads low. But no. Instead, they seem determined to glory in their Teflon-coated status. As a result, the grieving family of Jean Charles see their concerns swept aside once more. Perhaps “insensitive” is the wrong word – it seems almost deliberately and cruelly designed to grind their faces in the mud.
One wonders if there is an element of racism here, the almost explicit statement that until these uppity foreigners stop being bothersome and get lost, the establishment will rally round to let them know who’s boss and make their lives hell.
I am tired of this affair making me ashamed of being British.