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Duggan Investigation: Fed Rep Defends Officers

Staff association rep “disappointed” that officers involved in shooting remain off operational duty

The Police Federation representative for the Met’s SO19 firearms unit has said he is “disappointed” that officers who were involved in the Mark Duggan shooting incident remain off operational duty a year later – despite no action being taken against them.

In an interview with PoliceOracle.com Mark Williams said that an officer – known as Victor 53 – along with the strategic firearms commander and the tactical firearms commander – remained in career limbo following the incident.

He also maintained that, contrary to reports in some quarters of the media, officers had – and continued – to co-operate fully with the investigation into the shooting.

Mr Williams added: “The officers' have complied every step of the way with regards to providing accounts.

“We are shocked that the family of Mr Duggan are under the impression that the officers have not made statements. This is obviously not the case and needs to be corrected by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who have a duty to provide accurate updates and information to both the family and the officers involved.

“More thought should be given to the people most affected in these situations, in this case the family of Mark Duggan and the police firearms officers.”

Mr Williams was speaking after Mark Rowley, AC Central Operations for the Met, rebuffed a Daily Mirror leader by journalist Paul Routledge criticising the police.

In the column, entitled Cops Dodge the Bullet, Mr Routledge claimed that it was both “intolerable and inexcusable” that the firearms officers who were involved in the shooting of Mr Duggan a year ago had “refused to answer questions”.

He added: “If they were civilians, officers who besieged the drug suspect’s taxi in Tottenham would be charged with obstructing the police in their enquiries.

“But the cops who fired the fatal shots that triggered the worst urban riots in Britain this century have been allowed to stay silent...this cannot be allowed to continue.”

But AC Rowley – a former Surrey chief who joined the Met last year – said it was incorrect to suggest those involved in the shooting had declined to co-operate.

He added: “I can confirm that all officers involved in the operation of August 4 2011 have provided detailed, written witness statements regarding the incident.

“They have done so in accordance with the national guidance which the IPCC were involved in developing – one officer’s statement runs into 42 pages of testimony. Furthermore, over 1,000 supplementary questions requested by the IPCC of the officers involved have received full written responses.”

AC Rowley pointed out that – a year after the shooting of Mr Duggan – there had been no allegations of criminal liability or misconduct levelled at those involved.

He added: “The officers have acted on their own legal advice and declared a preference for answering further questions in writing. While this stance has been challenged publicly by the IPCC, it has led to misleading reporting where the full scale of the evidence already provided by the officers, who fully expect to be held to account by the Coroner’s Court, has not been publicised.”

AC Rowley said that public confidence in the IPCC investigation was “of paramount importance” to the force and that Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe had been urgently looking at facilitating closer contact between the watchdog and officer witnesses.

The force had asked ACPO for a review of guidance in this area, he concluded.

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