Tag Archives: EU

Serious doubts about the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Metropolitan Police Service

The UK Human Rights Blog writes today about the report of the inquiry on the death of Azelle Rodney on July 5, 2005.

24-year-old Rodney was shot dead by a Metropolitan Police Officer on April 30, 2005. Rodney was the rear passenger in an acquaintance’s car and was unarmed.

“After the Metropolitan Police had brought the vehicle to a halt, a firearms officer, described as ‘E7’ in the inquiry’s report, shot Mr Rodney 6 times without warning with a Heckler & Koch assault rifle. The fifth and sixth of these shots were a military-style ‘double tap’ to Mr Rodney’s head and would have been fatal. E7 then briefly paused before shooting Mr Rodney a further two times in the head. These shots would also have been fatal.”

The inquiry was held in order to satisfy the UK’s obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to life. The inquiry’s report was clear that the factors surrounding the case and the pressure the police were under did not justify the killing of Mr Rodney, who did nothing to cause the officer involved, E7, to rationally believe that he was about to use a gun.

Just some of the failures that the report highlights, after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (“IPCC”) found no significant fault on the part of the police and rejected all complaints against the police:

  • Firearms officers failed to wear caps identifying themselves as police officers.
  • There was a failure to debrief the firearms officers to see what, if anything, had gone wrong or whether there were lessons to be learned.
  • No single officer of sufficient seniority and common sense was put in charge of managing the scene of the incident, which meant that Mr Rodney’s body was left where it lay, after being pulled out onto the pavement, for more than 16 hours; his blood had not been fully cleaned away by the time his family attended the scene.

The situation was first investigated by the IPCC who issued a statement saying they re-referred the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider whether any criminal charges should be brought. The IPCC carried out an investigation into Mr Rodney’s death in 2005, in which the officer who fired the fatal shots, ‘E7’, was criminally interviewed for the offences of murder and manslaughter. In January 2006 the IPCC provided the CPS with a file of evidence in relation to the investigation. The CPS subsequently decided there was insufficient evidence to mount a criminal prosecution.

According to the ICCP, the Azelle Rodney Inquiry has had the benefit of a great deal of evidence that was not available to the IPCC or CPS, including lengthy cross-examination of E7, who had declined under caution to answer the IPCC’s questions, and further forensic and technical work we had been advised in 2005 was not possible.

The IPCC also wrote to the MPS on Monday 1 July asking the force to consider both the contents of the Inquiry Report and the evidence heard to determine whether either indicate that any person currently serving with the MPS, or retired, may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner which would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings.

The MPS has now confirmed that it has done so and advised in its view that there is no such indication that would justify criminal or disciplinary action.

The IPCC is in the process of reviewing the way it investigates all deaths, and will be drawing on the experience of this and many other cases within that process.

See the full article on the UK Human Rights Blog by Sarabjit Singh.

Cutting benefits to the very rich, by George Monbiot on farmers’ subsidies

“The minister responsible for cutting income support for the poor, Iain Duncan Smith, lives on an estate owned by his wife’s family. Over the past ten years, it has received €1.5m in income support from taxpayers.”

George Monbiot writes today about the farming subsidies which go to the richest landowners:

“Some of them are millionaires from elsewhere: sheikhs, oligarchs and mining magnates who own vast estates in this country. Though they might pay no taxes in the UK, they receive millions in farm subsidies. They are the world’s most successful benefit tourists. Yet, amid the manufactured terror of immigrants living off British welfare payments, we scarcely hear a word raised against them.”

At the same time the payments to the poorest in society have been cut and no one seems to be complaining.

The only things I don’t agree with in his article are the reasons for why this is happening. He implies some kind of cultural illusion about the beauty of farms and that’s why people aren’t protesting. I think it’s the same reason why plain packaging for tobacco hasn’t been implemented in the UK and indeed why smoking is still not banned even though it’s a deadly habit: the rich lobby and get what they want.

Read more here: http://www.monbiot.com/2013/07/01/robber-barons/


Using the Guardian as inspiration

A New York Times review of So Much For That by Lionel Shriver has the reviewer Leah Hager Cohen remark that the content in the novel about healthcare and the economy sounds more like editorial. She goes on to say that this might reflect Shriver’s journalistic status as a regular contributor to The Guardian of London”. Of London? I’d not heard references to the Guardian framed in such a way before so I searched and the location specific reference does not appear to originate from the newspaper.

I realise that there are other newspapers entitled ‘Guardian’ (Guardian of Nigeria, The News Guardian of North Tyneside, the Croydon Guardian, the Sutton Guardian and a few others out there) so there must be some need to whittle it down to specifics.

The references to the London location were mostly from American newspapers and one of the most interesting articles I came across was by the Nieman Journalism Lab. The project is “a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age” and is run by Harvard University. The article is about the MP expenses scandal which was brought to light by the Daily Telegraph and then opened up to the public by the Guardian. The analysis explores how interaction is promoted and how value is gained from the audience.

The Daily Telegraph had gained access to over 2 million documents and once they were made publicly available they were put online by the Guardian. 170,000 documents were reviewed in the first 80 hours, thanks to a visitor participation rate of 56 percent. The Nieman Lab talked to the developer, Simon Willison, and he had some tips on how to get people involved in providing valuable information: make it fun, give people a goal to share, provide a narrative (a purpose) and make it personal.

The Guardian (in London) makes it look good and promotes a level of interaction which is very high. The European Journalism Centre (ECJ) also looks to provide interaction, involvement and high quality results and has funded a European blogging competition, TH!NK3 in pursuit of such goals as

  • promote high quality journalism through professional training, particularly in a European context;
  • provide a forum for discussion, debate, and exchanges of views and experience for journalists, editors, media executives and other media professionals;

Th!nk3 is the third global blogging competition funded by the EJC. It will focus on sustainable development and global cooperation in the lead up to the high-level plenary meeting on the Millennium Development Goals at the UN 65th session of the General Assembly in September 2010.

The competition brings together journalists, journalism students, academics and experts from 27 EU Member States, neighbourhood countries and beyond, to write about global cooperation in international development. TH!NK3: Developing World will run from 24 March, 2010 to 31 August, 2010.

I will be attending the Brussels launch event, which will include speakers, workshops and opportunities for all participants to meet each other and network as a team. TH!NK3: Developing World will also offer the project’s top bloggers the chance to cover the issues from the field via reporting expeditions to Asia, Africa and New York City. In order to qualify for these awards, participants must blog at least 20 times throughout the competition.

Lionel Shriver’s latest work follows on her acclaimed success as the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin which was a winner of the Orange Book Prize. As the NYT reviewer mentions, “the questions this novel raises about human existence prove less ontological than economic” and the story is about a man planning to leave his current unfulfilling existence to a place where money is worth more, an island off Tanzania. The UN Millennium Goals are

  • End Poverty and Hunger
  • Universal Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Child Health
  • Maternal Health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Global Partnership

and the work involved will look at reasons that take account of economics but are more about everyone coming together and working towards a better world. Readers of this blog will get to read (or at least note) these posts and while I’m excited about the opportunity I also welcome any interaction from others. The next step is to figure out how to make it fun. Ideas are always welcome.