Cameron, Clegg appeal for calm over Mark Duggan shooting verdict

PM says finding that police action was lawful must be respected, as victim's family plans vigil

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 11:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 11:33pm


British Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, have appealed for a calm response after an inquest found a man was lawfully killed by police in an incident that sparked Britain's worst unrest for decades.

The family of Mark Duggan is planning a vigil today in Tottenham, north London, where he was shot in August 2011.

His aunt, Carol Duggan, who on Wednesday claimed her nephew was "executed", said: "It's a peaceful vigil to respect Mark and highlight the fact he didn't get justice."

In the days after his death, there were riots in Tottenham that spread across cities in England.

The jury concluded Duggan, 29, had a gun with him in a taxi just before police stopped the car but threw it away moments before he was shot by a marksman.

The family responded furiously, with Duggan's brother screaming obscenities at jurors as they left court and other supporters shouting "murderers".

As his family declined to attend a meeting with London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, Cameron said: "Of course these issues raise very strong emotions. But I hope people can react calmly and recognise that we have proper judicial processes in this country and they are the ones that must be followed and respected."

Cameron and Clegg used radio interviews to reach out to the Duggan family while stressing the importance of respecting the decision of a jury.

Cameron said: "Any loss of life is always a matter of great regret. I know how strongly people feel about that. I remember visiting Tottenham and talking to people after the riots.

We are on a journey … There is still racial prejudice in our country

"But we have to respect judicial processes in this country. We have to respect the outcome of trials and the work juries do. I very much respect Mark Duggan's aunt for saying they want to pursue their case through the courts rather than on the streets.

"I have huge respect for Bernard Hogan-Howe, who is ready to meet with the family if they would like and recognises how much more important work we still have to do to make sure the police have the confidence of every community in London."

Clegg stressed that it was a jury that had decided Duggan was lawfully killed.

He said he understood the anger of the Duggan family, and said rules governing investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission could lead to a breakdown in communications, which in turn led to misunderstandings.

"I am sure there are questions that need to be asked, not only about how some of these investigations are conducted," Clegg said.

The deputy prime minister praised Hogan-Howe for meeting community leaders in Tottenham.

He said the Met commissioner was right to look at a pilot scheme in which armed police wear cameras to help investigations into disputed incidents.

Cameron said more needed to be done to tackle racial discrimination and to provide greater opportunities to disadvantaged communities.

"We have been on a journey in our country from a time when there were very bad levels of racial prejudice, very bad levels of discrimination, not proper avenues of opportunity," the prime minister said.

"We are on a journey. We haven't cracked all these problems. There is still racial prejudice in our country."

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse