Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

How "I" is the IPCC ?

If you're reading this blog for the first time today you might think that I've got it in for the police. I haven't, it's just that I've seen two separate stories today which strike me as abuses of power.

This one involves a family who are trying to get some explanation into the cause of a relative's death in police custody. We need to wary here, because we've only got one side of the tale, but on the face of it the facts are horrible:
.....a mentally disturbed man collapsed and died in police custody and, when asked to investigate, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) did not even interview the police officers allegedly involved; took the police nearly six hours to tell the family of the man's death, they were denied access to his body for another 36 hours after that, and only then after persistent requests;
.....when the family did finally see the man's body, it bore wounds which the police had not told the family about;
.....police initially denied the existence of a CCTV camera which overlooked the scene of the man's collapse, and, when the family became aware of its existence, told them it was faulty;
.....the family have been denied access to the police surgeon's medical notes.

An independent pathology report concludes that the man's death was "restraint-related".
The family think that they have been lied to and that evidence proving so has been destroyed.

This really begs a question about police accountability - if you cannot trust the IPCC, whom the hell can you trust ? The family have the right to a complete explanation of what happened, but if the IPCC do not even interview the officers attending to the man then what kind of investigation can they possibly have held ?

Incidentally, in a separate development I see that Sean Mercer, the trigger-happy thug who murdered Rhys Jones, has been attacked in prison, and left with a broken nose. I don't condone violence but this is one incident over which I shall not be shedding tears. As Mercer gets used to life in prison and finds that child killers face additional retribution inside, he might muse on the fact that if he'd have wanted to get away with killing people his best bet might have been to join the police.

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