Metropolitan Police detective sacked over failures in gun investigation linked to Mark Duggan's death

The officer was investigating an attack using the gun that Mr Duggan was transporting when he was shot

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 23 April 2016 10:42
A watchdog investigated whether police could have prevented Mr Duggan being handed the gun that sparked the police operation in which he was shot dead
A watchdog investigated whether police could have prevented Mr Duggan being handed the gun that sparked the police operation in which he was shot dead

A Scotland Yard detective has been sacked over failures in an investigation linked to the death of Mark Duggan.

The 29-year-old was shot dead by police in Tottenham on 4 August 2011, sparking protests that escalated into the London riots and disorder across the country.

Much of the dispute over Mr Duggan’s death centred around whether he was armed at the time of the shooting but a local drug dealer was later jailed for supplying him a handgun just minutes before his death.

Kevin Hutchinson-Foster had used the weapon to “pistol whip” a barber five days before but “numerous failings” were found in the investigation into that attack, potentially allowing Hutchinson-Foster to remain at large and pass on the gun.

Kevin Hutchinson-Foster (pictured) was convicted of passing the gun to Mark Duggan

A Metropolitan Police officer was dismissed without notice on Friday after an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) misconduct hearing over the case.

The investigation found a case to answer that CCTV which clearly showed Hutchinson-Foster’s attack on the barber was not circulated at the earliest opportunity, a number of witnesses were not contacted and blood swabs were not submitted for forensic analysis for several months.

The officer, named onlly as DC Faulkner, was also found to have attempted to deceive his supervisor several months later in an effort to imply that he had circulated the footage shortly after the incident.

In May 2015 a police sergeant was found at a misconduct meeting to have failed to adequately supervise the investigation but no sanction was imposed by the Metropolitan Police.

“The Independent Police Complaints Commission found a number of failures in a Metropolitan Police Service investigation into an assault with a firearm in Hackney in July 2011,” a spokesperson said.

“However, the IPCC found that even if the assault had been promptly investigated, it would have been highly unlikely the assailant could or would have been identified before he provided the gun to Mark Duggan.”

The IPCC also examined why the Met’s gun unit Trident did not immediately act on information handed to it on 12 August 2011, which linked Hutchinson-Foster with the gun found at the scene where Mr Duggan was shot.

A detective chief superintendent, the then head of Trident, cited perceived confidentiality issues, concerns not to prejudice the IPCC investigation into the death of Mr Duggan, and a belief that it was the responsibility of others to determine what information could be shared with Hackney borough officers as reasons for the delay.

A jury found that Mark Duggan had been unarmed but had been lawfully shot twice by a police marksman

A detective chief inspector from Trident provided similar explanations, as well as a need to obtain further supporting evidence to effect an arrest, a focus limited to the supply of the firearm and concerns that any action may spark further public disorder.

Sarah Green, deputy chairwoman of the IPCC, said: “A number of explanations were put forward as to why the investigation into an assault did not progress as quickly as it should have.

”While we accept that even if the assault had been promptly investigated, it would have been highly unlikely the assailant could or would have been identified before he provided the gun to Mark Duggan, the investigation was not given the priority it should have been.

“The public needs to feel confident that the police are doing all they can to ensure that these weapons are taken off the streets, including prompt and effective investigations and overcoming perceived difficulties.

”We welcome the fact that Trident has since extended its terms of reference to include a greater emphasis on the unit working with local borough units and other external agencies."