A correction and apology

It is sometimes very difficult to admit when you get something wrong and say sorry.  There is always the desire to avoid embarrassment or cover things up quietly and hope no one notices.  It is because you know you will feel humiliation and that your credibility may be undermined.  Nevertheless it is the right and proper thing to do.  This is one of those moments for me.  But I hope that after correcting my inaccuracy and apologising for it, some credibility might remain and that readers feel able to trust what I write in the future.


Today, 12 August 2011, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has issued a statement in which it admitted it may have verbally given journalists the impression that Mark Duggan fired at police.

As such I feel I must apologise unreservedly for my assertions in two blog posts here and here, which are consequently wholly inaccurate.

There had been no indication of a verbal briefing, given that quotes used by the media were directly lifted from written IPCC press releases.  But by excluding the possibility of a verbal briefing just hours after the shooting and suggesting the media had embellished the story I was guilty of jumping to conclusions and unfairly criticising the reporting as dishonest.

In my view the IPCC deserves to be castigated for also jumping to conclusions and I hope the journalists who received that verbal briefing will now name the IPCC spokesman or woman in the interests of transparency.

What remains clear however is that the police have not publicly asserted that Duggan fired upon officers. The IPCC is not part of the police. Therefore claims by some bloggers and users of social media that the police have lied about the circumstances of the shooting remain – unless evidence to the contrary emerges – inaccurate and misleading.

14 Responses to “A correction and apology”

  1. 1 The Gray Monk 12/08/2011 at 6:24 pm

    Well done, it takes a very big man to admit an error. You are right about those who are already screaming abuse at the police, at no time did the claim Duggan fired.

  2. 2 A Lovell 12/08/2011 at 6:26 pm

    As far as I’m concerned, you are fully forgiven! As you say, we all make mistakes, but it takes the bigger person to admit it.

    Don’t worry about your credibility. This ‘correction and apology’ just reinforces it.

    Would that others should do the same…………………..

  3. 3 Barry 12/08/2011 at 7:08 pm

    In the interests of transparency I’m not all that bothered about the name of the person or persons passing information from the IPCC to the media. I am far more interested in knowing what they said. Did they dress up speculation as fact or was that the media? In a situation where there are several people with guns and some shots were fired it would be a massive assumption to deny the possibility of the police shooting one of their own accidentally or by ricochet.

    Early on the media made some very specific assertions that the IPCC would have been dim in the extreme to have invented themselves so I will reserve judgment until more information is forthcoming. Conceivably it could be a mistake or slackness by the IPCC being repeated without question by copy n paste journos.

    The media could have reported speculation and labeled it as speculation, especially when conflicting reports of the same incident were readily available.(The Guardian manage to find 2 different stories by 20.16pm) And if they weren’t reporting speculation it should have been attributed to a named source.

  4. 4 Druid Shift Skipper 12/08/2011 at 8:00 pm

    So who will investigate the IPCC then? If it were a Police spokesman I have no doubt heads would be rolling.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes…

  5. 5 jameshigham 12/08/2011 at 8:10 pm

    Credibility does not depend on one statement, only if a series are shown to be rash or inaccurate. That is not the case here.

  6. 6 Steve 12/08/2011 at 9:45 pm

    I love the way this article keeps referring to “it” (IPCC) rather than a named source. Piss-poor journalism…..and cowardice, ….and authoritarian censorship…etc…ad nauseum.


  7. 7 Span Ows 12/08/2011 at 10:16 pm

    Just as a follow up to Steve’s comment above and AM’s phrase in this blogpost “There is always the desire to avoid embarrassment or cover things up quietly and hope no one notices.” There has been many occasions (but of course not ample evidence) of the BBC doing just that. They don’t put an update at the bottom or strike though text and put a referenced edit, no, they just change what was written before: “stealth edit”

  8. 8 Brian H 13/08/2011 at 5:53 am

    Sorry, it didn’t work. Your unwarranted conclusion-jumping was an obvious boner from the get-go, and your current reluctant admission of that when faced with the facts does nothing to restore your creditability. You have permanently been consigned to the ranks of the IDD (Indubitable Dubious Doofi).


  9. 9 Brian H 13/08/2011 at 6:00 am

    Incredible! I misspelled “credibility” as “creditability”. I’m left gasping incredulously.
    However, come to think of it, it’s more of a malapropism, since creditability is a real word, just not the right one. Oh, well. I half-forgive myself.

  10. 10 Autonomous Mind 13/08/2011 at 8:03 am

    Have you got a hair shirt you can lend me Brian? :)

  11. 11 Brian H 14/08/2011 at 9:34 am

    Yes, fully invested and infested with vigourous fleas carrying numerous virulent vectors. Very effective!

  12. 12 Lesley 14/08/2011 at 12:06 pm

    (Brian H 9:34 Vigorous!)

    When we get our information we expect the likes of the IPPC to produce a statement that is accurate. In this case it is later stated that Duggan did not shoot.
    That he had a firearm was the key, I want my Police to shoot if they – or other civilians -are in fear of being shot. Because of the IPPC’s error the bad guys have another claim of it being Establishment vs themselves and they are the ‘innocent’ party with lies being told.
    You are so right. Apologies made late and quietly are useless.

  13. 13 Chris 04/08/2012 at 6:41 pm

    Doesnt matter really, world is better off without him.

  14. 14 Brian H 06/08/2012 at 12:56 pm

    Leslie (2011-08-14 at 12:06 pm);
    For Brits and Canucks (when we so choose) it’s vigour, not vigor. Hence vigourous, not vigorous.

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