Public Statement and Deputy Assistant Commissioner de Brunner’s apology to the Tomlinson family
05 August 2013
The Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis wishes to announce that all the litigation between him and the members of the Tomlinson family arising out of the tragic death of Ian Tomlinson has been resolved. An out of court settlement has been agreed that acknowledges the suffering Julia Tomlinson and the family have endured with dignity over the last four years.
In view of the physical and mental distress caused to the members of the family by these events and the understandable publicity and press interest, it has been agreed that it is in the best interests of the family that no further statement will be made, either by them or the Commissioner, regarding the terms of the settlement.
On behalf of the Metropolitan Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner de Brunner made the following apology to the family of Mr Tomlinson.
"I take full responsibility for the actions of Simon Harwood on 1 April 2009. His actions fell far below the standard we expect from our officers. I accept the finding of the inquest that Mr Tomlinson was unlawfully killed. As the jury found, “at the time of the strike and push Mr Tomlinson was walking away from the police line. He was complying with police instructions to leave Royal Exchange Buildings. He posed no threat”. Today, I apologise unreservedly for Simon Harwood’s use of excessive and unlawful force, which caused Mr Tomlinson’s death, and for the suffering and distress caused to his family as a result.
"The Commissioner also apologises to the family for ill-considered comments made in the media in the immediate aftermath of Mr Tomlinson’s death which served to distract attention away from the investigation into the death. Further, it is a matter of deep regret that Mr Tomlinson’s family learned of the nature of his contact with Simon Harwood through the press, rather than from our officers. I fully appreciate and regret the distress this must have caused the family.
"The Commissioner further apologises for the information given by a Metropolitan police officer to Dr Shorrock and Dr Swift that misled them initially as to the cause of death. Whilst we are satisfied that the officer’s actions were inadvertent, and not designed to mislead the pathologists, this should not have happened and I apologise to the family for the additional distress it caused them.
"Issues concerning the failure to discipline Simon Harwood and his re-admission into the Metropolitan Police in 2004 have been a source of concern and upset for the family. It is clear that insufficient recording and checks meant that detailed information regarding the officer’s misconduct history was not shared at key points. We got it wrong. The Commissioner acknowledges that this case has highlighted significant failings in the vetting procedures of the Metropolitan police service and we have taken steps to put in place new procedures that will improve public confidence".