Met cancelled police leave ahead of Duggan inquest verdict

Police across London, including Croydon, had leave cancelled last week as the Met prepared for adverse public reaction to the jury’s verdict in the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan.

Mark Duggan, whose shooting led to rioting across London. His aunt, Carol Duggan, will be speaking at the screening of Riot from Wrong on Dec 5

Mark Duggan, whose shooting led to rioting across London. His aunt, Carol Duggan, will be speaking at the screening of Riot from Wrong on Dec 5

Duggan’s death in August 2011 sparked riots in Tottenham and then across England. Large parts of Croydon were subjected to arson, looting and gang violence on Monday, August 8 that year.

Father-of-four Duggan was shot by police marksmen who stopped the taxi in which he was travelling in north London.

The inquest into his death began 13 weeks ago at the High Court in London, and before the jury retired last week, Judge Keith Cutler told them to reach their decisions “calmly and coolly on the evidence”. When the jury failed to reach a conclusion, the inquest was adjourned until next month.

Judge Cutler told the jury it may reach one of three possible conclusions: that the 29-year-old was killed unlawfully, or killed lawfully, or they may reach an open conclusion.

Public reaction to the verdict is hard to predict, and the Metropolitan Police has been effectively on stand-by since the beginning of December.

At the start of the month Croydon’s deputy borough commander, Superintendent Rob Atkin, issued a memo in which he appealed for any information about community unrest.

Atkin wrote, “A key element in responding appropriately to the findings of the jury turns on our ability to retain a sophisticated appreciation of community concern and or tension.”

The “sophisticated appreciation” did not extend to the language used by Atkin in his email message, in which he referred to the inquest as “this trial” – it might just be that the Met Police itself feels that it is on trial over its actions in this controversial incident.

In his memo, sent just over a fortnight ago, Atkin wrote: “Currently there is no information to suggest any community tension in Croydon. However to reassure you we are monitoring this both locally and London-wide.

“Also to reassure you that both locally and London-wide I am confident that should there be any adverse reaction or disorder, the MPS has the necessary plans and resources in place to deal with it in a coordinated manner.”

Sources informed Inside Croydon that by the end of last week, police across the capital were having their leave cancelled in anticipation of a verdict on the Duggan inquest. The jury will reconvene on January 7.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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