Statements following Mark Duggan inquest

08 January 2014

New Scotland Yard

Following the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan at the High Court on Wednesday, 8 January, the Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said:

The death of Mark Duggan in 2011 was a tragedy for his family and led to a significant reduction in trust between London's black communities and the Metropolitan Police.

"We need to do more, much more, to improve our relationships with black Londoners."

My sympathy is with Mr Duggan's family at the loss of their loved one, and with the communities affected by the consequences of his death.

I welcome the verdict of a jury that our officers acted lawfully when they confronted an armed criminal who they believed posed a threat to them and to the public. But I recognise that some in the community are still angry at Mr Duggan's death.

In particular, I know that we have much work to do with black Londoners to build trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police. We are already working with communities across our great city to achieve that, and we now appeal to all local leaders to help us in that. We know it will take time. We know it won't be easy.

Since I became Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in 2011, I have reformed our approach to stopping and searching people, which we know has led to distrust of the police by many young black men in particular. We now stop many fewer people, and we are reducing the disproportionate numbers of black and Asian men stopped by my officers.

But we need to do more, much more, to improve our relationships with black Londoners.

Firstly, whilst we have already improved the transparency in the way evidence is gathered in the two police shootings since 2011, we will now strengthen this further. People must have confidence that the process is open and accountable. Our professional and well-trained officers want this too.

Secondly, we'll begin a trial this year in which firearms officers are issued with body-worn video cameras to record the actions of officers and those they are dealing with. We want to see if this is an effective way to record evidence and ensure public confidence.

Thirdly, I have asked some of the capital's political representatives, and local community leaders from Tottenham, to meet me tomorrow to discuss how the Metropolitan Police can build better relationships for the future. I am open to ideas and advice

We know that the arguments will continue about what happened in this case. So we appeal for a balanced debate about the risks to the public from gun-crime.

Armed criminals have killed more than 50 people in this city - from all communities -- in the past 3 and half years. We send out well-trained, professional armed officers nearly every day to protect the public from this threat. In this case, that had tragic consequences. In most, we never fire a shot.

My officers do not set out to run an operation that results in someone dying. They are brave people who risk their own lives to keep the public safe. Like me, they will never stop trying to reduce the risk of injury or worse. But they can only so if we continue to have the support of all communities in London.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday, 8 January, said:

No officer sets out at the start of the day to run an operation that results in someone dying.

So our sympathy today is with Mark Duggan's family. They have lost a loved one.

But the task our officers face in making split-second decisions when confronting armed criminals means there is a risk - a very small risk - that this will happen.

Armed criminals have shot dead more than 50 people in London in the last 3 and a half years. We send out well-trained, professional armed officers thousands of times a year to combat this threat, only firing shots once or twice. These careful tactics have significantly reduced gun crime.

It is significant, then, that a jury of Londoners, who have seen and heard all the evidence, have today concluded that not only was the operation to stop Mark Duggan in the taxi conducted in a way which minimised to the greatest extent possible recourse to lethal force, but that Mark Duggan had a gun, and also that our officer had an honest and reasonable belief that Mark Duggan still had the gun when he shot him.

We know the trust is not shared by everyone. I will be offering to meet Mark Duggan's family to express our sorrow. And we will continue working with local leaders to strengthen relationships. We know it will take time.