Brian Paddick interviewed in the Guardian

The Guardian’s ‘Saturday Interview’ last week featured as its subject Liberal Democrat mayoral contender and former Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick.

Unsurprisingly, much of the interview concerns the recent riots and the police reaction to them, but Brian’s political ambitions are also covered.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Four years retired, Paddick remains remarkably relevant to the Met’s current predicament. The grandson of a policeman, he climbed the ranks to become commander of Lambeth, south London, where he famously initiated a pilot in which officers cautioned, rather than arrested, those in possession of cannabis. Despite falling victim to untrue tabloid stories and probably having his phone tapped, Paddick became deputy assistant commissioner, the most senior gay police officer in the country. His rise was halted when he revealed, five hours after Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by armed police at Stockwell tube in 2005, that senior officers had known he was carrying a Brazilian passport, and was therefore unlikely to have been a suicide bomber.

The police’s release of misleading tales to the media following the death of an innocent man has become a familiar pattern. It was repeated when newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson died after being shoved to the ground by a police officer during the 2009 G20 protests. Then, nine days ago, when Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in Tottenham, police accounts told of a shootout with Duggan, and an officer’s life freakishly saved when a bullet lodged in his police radio. There was a wearying inevitability about the Independent Police Complaints Commission announcing this week that in fact the bullet in the radio was police issue, and a non-police weapon retrieved from the scene was not fired.

Paddick “completely” agrees these inaccurate accounts disastrously undermine public confidence in the police. “There is still this belief among some senior officers that it’s better to cover up than own up. The trouble with that is usually people find out, and then it looks twice as bad,” he says.

How do you tackle that culture? Is it institutional? “Well, if it’s institutional it didn’t persuade me. I told the IPCC exactly what I knew on the day of the shooting of de Menezes, and as a consequence I was sidelined and eventually pushed out. That’s what happens with people who aren’t institutionalised.”

There’s much more over at the Guardian.

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2 Comments

  • Paddick’s comments in the exceprt above are spot on. We must remember that the riots began as anti-police riots and were described by the media as anti-police riots before the narrative was changed by the police/tories/right wing press to describing the riots as simply being conducted simply by criminals. Yes, the riots became dominated by opportunistic criminals after the initial phase – that’s what happens in riots – that’s why they’re called riots. A riot occurs when the law and order breaks down and the reason law and order broke down was because of the mistrust of the police’s account of the shooting of Mark Duggan. That mistrust was well founded and rational.

    We can argue to death about why so many people felt inclined to join in with lawlessness (the political/social/economic factors) but the reason the riots began is clear and indisputable. The serious problems in the the Met/IPCC/CPS have created a situation that undermines the good work of the vast majority of the police in carrying out their duty.

    Personally, over the last few years, I’ve made numerous comments in discussions about the de Menezes and Tomlinson cases about the possibility of a break down in law and order leading to civil unrest. The riots were completely predictable (although maybe not their scale). Let’s not pretend they weren’t.

  • How do you tackle that culture? Is it institutional? “Well, if it’s institutional it didn’t persuade me. I told the IPCC exactly what I knew on the day of the shooting of de Menezes, and as a consequence I was sidelined and eventually pushed out. That’s what happens with people who aren’t institutionalised.”

    Well, that rather suggests that the problem is institutional, doesn’t it?

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