IPCC urges shootings law change

 

Changes to the law are needed to restore public confidence after people are shot dead by officers, the police watchdog said today.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) says it is "extremely frustrated" by obstacles preventing officers being more transparent with relatives.

Deborah Glass, of the watchdog, spoke out after it emerged an inquest into the death of the man whose shooting triggered last summer's riots could be impossible because of "disclosure issues".

The IPCC may have material "that it could not properly disclose to a coroner" over the decision by officers to shoot Mark Duggan, North London Coroners' Court was told earlier this week.

Ms Glass, the watchdog's deputy chairwoman, is calling for a change in some sections of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which bars some evidence from legal proceedings.

The IPCC believes that it is "essential for families to play a full part in any process which establishes how and in what circumstances their family member died", she said.

Ms Glass added: "Our principal statutory duty is to secure and maintain confidence in the police complaints system and one way in which this can be achieved is by ensuring that there is proper public scrutiny when someone dies at the hands of the state.

"We are therefore extremely frustrated when anyone or anything attempts to get in the way of our ability to provide family members with information about an investigation into a death at the hands of the police or to ensure a full public examination of the facts surrounding the death.

"As a general rule we seek to find ways round any such obstacles. However, in some circumstances our hands are tied by the law."

Section 17 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act blocks full disclosure, she said.

"The impact of this is that not only can some information not be disclosed, we cannot even explain why we cannot disclose the information, as this itself would be a breach of the law," Ms Glass said.

"In our view this places investigatory bodies in the invidious position of being unable to provide families, and the public, with meaningful information on the investigation or even explain why that information cannot be provided. We believe this law needs to be changed."

Both the watchdog and Scotland Yard have admitted mishandling the way they dealt with Mr Duggan's family.

Initial reports that Mr Duggan shot at police were dismissed by ballistic tests which later found that a bullet which lodged itself in one officer's radio was police issue.

Mr Duggan was a passenger in a minicab when he was killed during a pre-planned operation involving officers from the Metropolitan Police Trident gun crime unit on August 4 in Tottenham, north London.

But police failed to formally notify the family of his death, giving his parents Pamela Duggan and Bruno Hall false hope.

Relatives subsequently complained about their treatment, which was upheld by the IPCC.

The IPCC is still conducting a separate investigation into the circumstances of the shooting, with an investigation into his death failing to establish the sequence of events concerning a handgun found at the scene.

A coroner's officer said a provisional date of January 28 has been set for Mr Duggan's inquest - but only if the eight-week inquest is given the go-ahead during a review on October 23.

An alternative could be a special inquiry where some evidence is heard behind closed-doors, it is understood.

PA

Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice