Monday 22 June 2009

Toothless watchdog bares its gums

The police watchdog has dropped an investigation into the death of a 72-year-old man killed by a police car answering a 999 call in east London. He was hit by a marked car at Ridgeway in Chingford on Saturday afternoon. "The IPCC is satisfied that the police car had its lights and sirens activated and was travelling at an acceptable speed for a police car responding to an emergency," a spokesman said.

And what is “an acceptable speed” on a street with a 30 mph speed limit? Don’t expect the Independent Police Complaints Commission to bother enlightening us with such trifles.

Who supplied the IPCC with the information enabling it to exonerate the police? The police!

BBC London News gets it wrong – there is no such place as ‘Ridgeway’ in Chingford. The Ridgeway E4 is a long, wide road with a number of bends, where some drivers regularly exceed the 30 mph speed limit. I can also recall at least one other fatal collision involving an elderly pedestrian who was run down and killed on this road.

The IPCC won’t be bothering itself with the troubling context of this latest police killing.

As someone sarcastically pointed out in one of the national papers, if the IPCC was genuinely independent it wouldn’t need to include ‘Independent’ in its title, and it does so much in the same way that authoritarian states run by megalomaniacs are fond of including the word ‘Democratic’ in their name.