Letter: Police delays

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The Independent Online
YOU ARE, of course, right to concentrate on the racist implications to be drawn from the record of deaths in police custody ("Crunch week for Condon over race", 31 October). But it is not the whole story nor the only issue. Delay is always the recourse of big organisations when faced with the legitimate protests of the poor and powerless. Internal reviews of police conducts by the police themselves, disciplinary procedures, prosecutions, inquests and public inquiries all conspire to delay, fragment and frustrate the search for truth and justice.

That is revealed by the bureaucratic obstruction faced by all those bereaved by a family member's death in custody. But you don't have to be black or in custody for the police to be responsible for your death.

Harry Stanley, an unarmed white man going about his legal business, was shot on a public street in Hackney by the Metropolitan Police's SO19 squad on 22 September. The only action taken so far has been a Police Complaints Authority review undertaken by Surrey police, which is yet to report. What confidence can anybody have in this incestuous system to provide Mr Stanley's family with swift and open justice, given its lamentable record when handling deaths in custody?

MARY PIMM & NIK WOOD

London E9

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