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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Police says sorry over shooting as riots spread across Britain

The Guardian
LONDON, Aug 9: A row has broken out between police and the body charged with investigating them over who let down the family of Mark Duggan by failing to keep them informed of what had happened to him.

LONDON ON FIRE ... A masked man walks past a burning car outside a store in Hackney, August 8

The family of Duggan, shot dead by police on Thursday, said they were angered by the lack of information they received, and that their upset stoked tensions immediately before Saturday's riot in Tottenham.

The circumstances surrounding the death are being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The Metropolitan police apologised to the family on Monday, having earlier said that once the IPCC takes over an investigation, they also take over the role of family support.

Deputy assistant commissioner Stephen Kavanagh said: "I want to apologise to the Duggan family because I think both the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Metropolitan Police could have managed that family's needs more effectively."

Rachel Cerfontyne, the IPCC commissioner leading the investigation, said: "I am very clear that their [family] concerns were not about lack of contact or support from the IPCC.

"Their concerns were about lack of contact from the police in delivering news of his death to Mark's parents. It is never the responsibility of the IPCC to deliver a message regarding someone's death."

She added that "if necessary" the complaint would become part of the IPCC's investigation.

Saturday's riots followed the family's long wait outside Tottenham police station to see a senior officer.

Riots spread across Britain

Meanwhile, buildings were torched, shops ransacked, and officers attacked with makeshift missiles and petrol bombs as gangs of hooded and masked youths laid waste to streets right across the city.

The sheer number of incidents – including in Hackney, Croydon, Peckham, Lewisham, Clapham and Ealing – seemingly overwhelmed the Metropolitan police at times, who had poured 1,700 extra officers onto the streets.

Disturbances continued into the early hours on a breathtaking scale, and they spread outside London for the first time with riots reported in Birmingham and Liverpool.

David Cameron, forced to break off from holiday in Tuscany, was this morning due to chair a meeting of the government's emergency committee, Cobra. He was travelling on a UK military flight leaving Italy at 3am. Asked why the prime minister had now decided to return, a Downing Street source said: "The situation has become more serious."

Officers from Thames Valley, Essex, Kent, Surrey and City of London were drafted in to support the Met. But apparent "copycat" riots continued to spread in the wake of Tottenham's riots on Saturday precipitated by the Duggan's shooting last Thursday. So far 225 people have been arrested and 36 charged.

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