Thursday, January 09, 2014

Cameron calls for "Calm" - but Boris Orders Water Cannon

 AFTER angry scenes at the High Court following the Mark Duggan inquest, the young man's family have called for a peaceful and dignified vigil outside Tottenham police station on Saturday.

Mark Duggan, 29, was shot dead by police not far from his home in Tottenham on August 4, 2011. First reports fed to the media by police claimed the officers had fired back after coming under attack.
The jury in the case concluded after hearing witnesses that though Mark Duggan had a gun in the taxi with him, as police alleged, he appeared to have thrown it away as soon the vehicle was stopped. He  did not have a gun in his hand when he was killed.

But the jurors decided under instruction, by a majority of eight to two, that Duggan had not been unlawfully killed..

After the verdict, mark Duggan's mother pamela collapsed and had to be helped from court. 
Speaking outside the court, his aunt, Carole Duggan, said: “The majority of the people in this country know that Mark was executed. We are going to fight until we have no breath left in our body for Mark and his children.”

The family’s solicitor Marcia Willis Stewart said: “On August 4, 2011 an unarmed man was shot down in Tottenham. Today we have had what we can only call a perverse judgment.
“The jury found that he had no gun in his hand and yet he was gunned down. For us that's an unlawful killing.”

And she confirmed that they would be seeking a review of the inquest jury's decision. "We don't know how they reached the conclusion they did," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday.

She said the family did not want to see any more violence or demonstrations, after Duggan's death sparked the 2011 summer riots. But she added: "We will keep coming back with questions. The struggle will go on peacefully. But we will not give peace to the authorities until we get justice. We will just keep asking questions."

It was a vigil after Mark Duggan's death which brought clashes with police, sparking the Summer of riots which swept Britain's cities.

Prime Minister David Cameron has praised the Duggan family's insistence they don't want vioence, and made his own appeal for calm  But London mayor Boris Johnson, said to fancy himself as Cameron's replacement, showed what many will see as a more honest face of the Tory response.

In a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May on Monday, Johnson confirmed that senior officers of the Metropolitan Police are hoping to take delivery of water cannon within a few months, to deal with possible outbreaks of disorder like the rots in 2011.

Up to now water cannon have only been used in Ulster, where six vehicles are still in use. It would be up to the Home Secretary to authorise their use here.

In his letter Johnson writes to his fellow Conservative: “Following the disorder in August 2011, both the Metropolitan police service and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary stated that there are some circumstances where water cannon may be of use in future.”

He added the Metropolitan Police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has made assurances that water cannon would be “rarely used and rarely seen”.

It is not known how many vehicles the Metropolitan Police is seeking to introduce but each water cannon is understood to cost in the region  £1.3m and require a dedicated staff of 20 as well as 180 further specially trained officers. A request for Government funds for the equipment has been rejected by May, leading the Mayor's office to confirm that the water cannon will funded by an allocation from the Mayor's office and be solely for the use of the Metropolitan Police.

Ten Fire Stations Closed Down

The Mayor's claim that he is looking after the public looked a bit hollow today, when ten fire stations were closed promptly at 9am, on conclusion of the night shift. Three of the stations being axed were involved in the call to the Apollo Theatre ceiling collapse on December 19. Crews from two of them were at a shout in Camden last night where a family had to be rescued from  a fire.

Fourteen appliances and almost 600 firefighters are to go. Toughened firefighters were in tears as they came off shift this morining, to be greeted by demonstrating supporters at several of the doomed stations.
Speaking at Mayor's Question Time on September 11, Johnson said: "You have to make difficult decisions for the sake of good financial management and in order to have a proper modernised fire service which can continue its fantastic work of driving down the incidence of fire and death by fire."

Paul Embery, regional secretary of the FBU, said: "Mayor Boris Johnson will have blood on his hands. It will be only a matter of time before someone dies because a fire engine did not get to them in time".

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