London

Mark Duggan family lose police procedures case

Mark Duggan Image copyright Jeff Moore
Image caption Mark Duggan was killed in August 2011

Mark Duggan's family have lost a challenge over police procedures following fatal shootings by armed officers.

The Court of Appeal rejected a challenge on whether officers could confer before a court case involving a fatality at the hands of police.

Mr Duggan was shot by police in north London in August 2011 in Tottenham.

The 29-year-old's death sparked riots in the area, which then spread to other cities in England.

The case was brought by his mother Pamela Duggan and relatives of Rafal Delezuch, who died after being restrained by Leicestershire Police officers in 2012.

Duggan family lawyers argued the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) was operating a policy of allowing officers to confer which was inconsistent with the stance of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

'Scope for contamination'

Lord Justice Moore-Bick, Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Tomlinson said the IPCC had decided that key officers involved in a death should normally be separated from one another and not allowed to confer.

The three judges said "the risk of collusion" after an incident involving police "cannot be avoided altogether", but new guidance, issued by ACPO this year, went "a long way" towards reducing the risk, but they added that the document was "imperfect" lacking clarity and precision.

They said they were particularly concerned about two aspects of the guidance: allowing officers to remain together at the scene of an incident and as they travelled back to a police station, and the "unsupervised interval" between writing their initial accounts of what had happened and a detailed version up to 48 hours later.

"The less that is said... the greater is the scope for contamination of the detailed account by reason of intervening collusion," they said.

Lord Justice Richards added: "The IPCC has asserted its independence in issuing draft guidance that differs materially from the 2014 guidance.

"If it proceeds to issue statutory guidance, whether in that or in revised form, chief officers will have to take due account of it and consideration will no doubt have to be given to whether the 2014 guidance should be brought into line with it."

That was "for the future", said the judge.

The judges dismissed the appeals and refused permission to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The Duggan challenge was launched after Ms Duggan lost her High Court battle to overturn an inquest verdict that her son had been "lawfully killed" by an armed Metropolitan Police officer.

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