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Have we had this? IPCC say they "may" have misled journalists

(49 Posts)
SardineQueen Fri 12-Aug-11 19:00:17

just putting it out there

After JC Menezes you'd think they'd be more careful about this sort of thing.

Quodlibet Fri 12-Aug-11 19:03:02

I know, strange isn't it, how the police (who you'd think would be fairly ruthless in terms of determining the facts in the event of a death) seem to manage to 'miscommunicate' these facts within their own organisation, and then outwards to journalists?

EdithWeston Fri 12-Aug-11 19:13:11

The published statements are all still on the website, and do NOT contain anything misleading. I'm not quite sure what else they might be referring to. Perhaps they felt they should have issued a clarification more speedily when it was clear press reporting contained inaccuracies?

They mentioned misinformation in one statement, but the only specific example was the "execution" style of the police shooting - perhaps it should have been explicit than? Or maybe they thought that after the general misinformation caution, the press would look back to the actual IPCC statements and use only the (correct) officially released information, and it was only after more erroneous reporting that they realised the press still wasn't doing this, and they had to spell it out yet again?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 19:14:06

The original IPCC statement is here It's extremely carefully worded but I can see how a journalist could take the phrase about an officer being taken to hospital and the phrase about a firearm being found in the vehicle together and make 2 + 2 = 5

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 19:15:45

'at the scene' rather than 'in the vehicle' I meant.

SardineQueen Fri 12-Aug-11 19:17:53

Read the article!

"It said the IPCC's first statement made no reference to shots fired at police.

But it said: "However, having reviewed the information the IPCC received and gave out during the very early hours of the unfolding incident, before any documentation had been received, it seems possible that we may have verbally led journalists to believe that shots were exchanged, as this was consistent with early information we received that an officer had been shot and taken to hospital.

"Any reference to an exchange of shots was not correct and did not feature in any of our formal statements, although an officer was taken to hospital after the incident.""

The misinformation was given by the IPCC to the journalists verbally.

EdithWeston Fri 12-Aug-11 19:26:45

SWYM - there'll be no satisfactory record of oral briefings, and an officer being short and taken to hospital is clearly ambiguous.

They should have put this right, explicitly, in the "misinformation" statement.

(And they should learn the difference between oral and verbal!)

SardineQueen Fri 12-Aug-11 19:36:35

It sounds to me like it wasn't ambiguous at all. If it was I doubt they would be owning up IYSWIM.

I reckon that the journalists have notes / recorded the conversations to check they got it verbatim, and if the IPCC say the journalists made it all up they will object.

The press got the idea that Mark Duggan had fired at police and that info came from the IPCC. It's just so awful. Mark Duggan was reported on the news as having done this, his friends and family said no way, tried to get to talk to police, police wouldn't talk to them, and you've a got a riot on your hands.

Police have a lot to answer for in all of this IMO.

EdithWeston Fri 12-Aug-11 19:42:16

Having neither heard one myself, not seen a transcript of any oral briefing, I'll bow to your superior knowledge of the contents.

All the rest of us have to go on is the current official statement, and I'm sure you'll agree that, especially given the subject matter, over-interpretation is a hazard.

SardineQueen Fri 12-Aug-11 19:52:25

I haven't got superior knowledge hmm

What is evident is that

The press were given information that led them to believe that mark duggan had fired shots
He hadn't fired shots
The IPCC have said that it was their fault, the journalists reported what they did because of what the IPCC told them verbally.

I'm not sure what you're getting at. The IPCC have said it was their fault that the mistake was made. Do you think it wasn't their fault?

organicgardener Fri 12-Aug-11 19:56:44

The only fact I want to know is...did the young Man have a gun.

If he didn't then the Police got it wrong.

If he did, the Police have got it right.

SardineQueen Fri 12-Aug-11 19:58:49

Doesn't it bother you that the police seem to make a habit of releasing misinformation when they shoot people, misinformation which supports their actions?

Doesn't it bother you that the police have form for lying about this stuff?

organicgardener Fri 12-Aug-11 20:06:11

Anyone who isn't bothered should be.

What's more worrying is the IPCC admitting that they were not unambiguous regarding the facts.

I hope this isn't a Copper shooting an innocent Man.

EdithWeston Fri 12-Aug-11 20:15:13

Organicgardener: yes he had a gun, it was capable of firing live ammunition and it contained a round. That was all said at the Inquest which was opened and adjourned last week. Information from IPCC press releases adds that there was no evidence that the gun was fired. Forensic tests have so far been unable to show whether it had been fired or not, and it is possible forensics may not ever be able to establish that, though further tests would be carried out.

SQ: absent an account of what was actually said, I would not want to speculate on whether what was said was ambiguous or just plain wrong (the use of the words "it seems possible" in this IPCC statement makes it impossible to be conclusive). Also it is not clear how far the flow of information from the police to IPCC was involved, nor who might have made which of all the possible errors. So yes, a firm conclusion of deliberate misinformation is premature.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 20:53:45

"Doesn't it bother you that the police have form for lying about this stuff?"

What bothers me is that every tiny thing the police say or don't say is picked over, analysed and turned against them in what seems like a deliberate attempt to discredit the service that is ultimately there to protect us. There is no doubt that they have made mistakes in the past and will probably make mistakes in the future. Policemen are human beings and human beings are fallible. Mistakes have to be held up to account, bad behaviour punished and all the rest. But what the last few days have shown is that when the police are too cautious or looking over their shoulder for fear of being accused of brutality by the public, they lose.

Ambiguity or lack of clarity is absolutely not the same as being deliberately misleading.

nancy75 Fri 12-Aug-11 20:54:27

SardineQueen - The IPCC released the statement NOT the police themselves

SardineQueen Fri 12-Aug-11 21:33:53

Does this genuinely not bother people?

We have the case of Ian Tomlinson where there were lies to cover up what happened
We have the case of JC Menezes where there were lies to cover up what happened

In both of these cases the initial reports were that the men killed were bad men, basically they were smeared.

We have police taking their ID numbers off before going to protests which is against the rules and demonstrates a certain intent
We have stories of corruption, and incompetance, that have led to the two most senior members of the met resigning

Now we have a situation where the press have somehow got hold of the idea that Mark Duggan fired at police before they shot him, this event, this misinformation and the police handling of his family was the trigger for the violence that we have just seen. The IPCC have said that the misinformation was their fault.

It is a huge deal, a bloody big deal. How anyone can have their heads in the sand, oh the police always do the right thing, they are impeccable in their behaviour at all times, when we have all this evidence to the contrary... Even the organisation saying that it's their fault. I find it strange to say the least.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Aug-11 21:41:49

Who said the police always do the right thing? No-one. But there are so many people, like you, quick to run off a litany of every single mistake made by a very large organisation, never mentioning the excellent work that they do, that some balance needs to be struck. I wouldn't like to be a policeman in the middle of a riot or confronting a suspect that I thought might have a gun or a bomb or something. The decisions I make in my work and life I don't always get right, but if I get them wrong no-one dies. 'Impeccable' they most certainly aren't, but I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt a little more often.

nancy75 Fri 12-Aug-11 21:44:59

the IPCC are not the police!
At the moment we don't know if Mark Duggan was a "bad man". As there was another gun at the scene it suggests he possibly was.

SardineQueen Fri 12-Aug-11 21:56:46

Every time I have given them the benefit of the doubt, cogito, I have been disappointed.

And it is a huge list of very serious mistakes.

The IPCC will have got their info from the police. So someone has given the wrong information somewhere along the line.

nancy75 Fri 12-Aug-11 22:00:42

The IPCC released a statement very quickly after the shooting, probably due to the fact that the story was all over the news and they felt they had to say something. It is very unlikely that all of the officers involved had been interviewed fully before this statement was given.
I agree with CogitoErgoSometimes - all of the good the police do is overlooked.

SardineQueen Fri 12-Aug-11 22:15:03

So as long as they do some good it doesn't matter if they are corrupt, if they lie, if they kill people by accident who they shouldn't kill, if they murder people who are not doing anything wrong, if they accept bribes and if they fail to investigate serious crimes.

Righty-ho.

SardineQueen Fri 12-Aug-11 22:15:43

The "good" that they have done here is triggered days of violence across the UK. Excellent work.

nancy75 Fri 12-Aug-11 22:21:28

you don't know he wasn't doing anything wrong, they have not finished the investigation yet, although I get the impression from your posts that even if the gun was proven beyond all doubts to be in Mark Duggans hand and he was about to shoot, you still would not believe it was the police officers right to shoot him.

The bottom line is, that if Mark Duggan had a gun then the policeman made the right call to shoot him.

If he didn't want to get shot, he shouldn't have had a gun.

The police are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't. I am not saying they are perfect, and clearly there is a lot of corruption in the Met at all levels, as highlighted by the current NI scandals. But that doesn't mean that police on the street aren't trying to make the right decisions while they are out doing their jobs.

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