Armed Struggle: Duggan Police Should Be Accountable
Mark Duggan: Well Played Mr Justice Keith Cutler, The Met’s Fearsome Burqa Bandit’s Are Above The Laws They Uphold
MARK Duggan was no angel. The 29-year-old father-of-six’s most ardent friends and family would probably agree.
He died when shot by a still anonymous (to the British Public) police officer.
Was the man who police immediately after the shooting branded as a gun-wielding gangsta who opened fire on them, a victim of the UK’s collective loss of innocence?
The country which has a complete arms ban on hand guns has since the ban’s introduction seen a massive growth in the number of armed alleged criminals and a matching increase in the very much more superior arming of huge numbers of police officers.
As a child he lived in the Broadwater Farm Estate which was a breeding ground of mistrust and conflict between the majority black population and the, now universally accepted, predominately white, right-wing and institutionally racist Metropolitan police force.
The estate’s name was branded into the UK’s population psyche when the unarmed beat bobby PC Keith Blakelock was cornered and chopped to death during the Broadwater Estate riots of October 6, 1985. He was the first serving police officer slaughtered during a civil disturbance for over a century.
Duggan was four-years-old at time.
The estate was and still is almost a total no-go area and was the subject material for describing the hard to police housing estate depicted as the fictional Jasmine Allen Estate which featured so well in the long running police soap The Bill. Much of what was shown – as entertainment – was true of the Broadwater Farm Estate. (The riots in photos.)
Difficult to police and impossible to control.
Then, just when and where were police given the authority to have any role in control of the population?
It is all too easy to point a finger at the Metropolitan Police Force and say this is racist black-white problem.
Alleged criminal activity and rioting are not the sole preserve of large multi-racial greater London housing estates. Remember Meadow Well Estate in Northumbria Police Force’s backyard of North Shields?
In September 1991 a confrontational policing policy resulted in mass rioting after the death of two youths involved in a car chase. There were 300 arrests. There was not an ethnic issue.
Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and other large conurbations have endemic gun crime and draconian policing policies. The rise of zero-tolerance gung-ho Chief Constables was not helpful in communities which still mistrusted and actively sought to outwit law enforcement.
It was clear in both Broadwater and Meadow Well police had lost touch and battle lines were drawn in “them and us” scenarios.
There was much chatter among the political classes and great anger in community and law enforcement inner sanctums. Money was spent and civic sticking plasters hurriedly applied.
Not much changed. Then on September 11, 2001 (date edited) came the nightmare and wake-up call. An era of mass murder was ushered in at the World Trade Centre New York. The UK had experience of this, to a much less extent, with it’s still unresolved Irish dimension.
The UK’s police forces began to tool up. More Special Branch officers were trained and in position. Urban gun crime and the petty criminal element of it were seen as part of the overall terror weaponry supply route problem.
Crackdown was the buzz word.
There are now more armed police officers in place throughout Britain then ever before.
No-one can dispute if faced with an armed assault it would nice to have an equal and opposite response from trained and accountable police officers.
The truly disturbing element of the Mark Duggan case is the clear lack of hands up responsibility . No-one should accept a police officer who has shot to kill should remain hidden behind a code name. A jury has decided the officer acted legally. Police officers are trained to NEVER shoot to wound. It is always a double tap kill shot procedure.
If there is nothing to fear in an open judicial system then that officer should be accountable. There is little difference between closeted unnamed and armed police officers and escaping felons in burqa.
Where secrecy exists tyranny breeds.
What must be addressed is the independent monitoring and control of police policy and procedures. The Independent Police Complaints Commission was shown to be totally unfit for purpose and should be replaced immediately.
If anyone doubts Establishment influences are still in play, consider the steering towards this Duggan Inquest verdict.
No self-respecting rioter will turn out over Christmas or on a cold January night.
Well played Mr Justice Keith Cutler. Well played.