Dec 19, 2013
An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) concluded that Metropolitan Police firearms officers acted appropriately to the immediate threat posed by two armed men in Woolwich.
The outcome of the IPCC’s investigation has awaited the conclusion of the trial at the Old Bailey which today, 19 December, saw Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, convicted of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s murder.
IPCC Commissioner Derrick Campbell said:
“It is the IPCC’s statutory duty to investigate incidents involving police shootings. On the afternoon of the 22 May 2013 two men, responsible for Fusilier Lee Rigby’s shocking murder in Woolwich were shot by Metropolitan Police officers and IPCC investigators were deployed immediately.
“Now that the trial has concluded we can outline the findings of our investigation but first I would once again like to express my condolences to Mr Rigby’s family for their tragic loss.
“The IPCC investigation examined the actions of three Metropolitan Police Service firearms officers who first responded to the incident in John Willson Street, Woolwich on Wednesday, 22 May.
“The investigation was assisted greatly in that it was captured entirely by local authority CCTV. IPCC investigators were aided further by additional mobile phone footage recorded by an eyewitness.
“By layering the CCTV and mobile phone footage together we had the opportunity to view the incident as it unfolded, an advantage seldom available to the IPCC when investigating police shootings.
“Assessing the footage, frame by frame, it is incontrovertible that these officers found themselves in an extremely volatile situation confronted by two men, who had just killed someone, armed with knives, a meat cleaver and a firearm in a public place.
“It is clear the officers had seconds to assess the rapidly escalating threat posed, not only to themselves, but also to the many members of the public who had gathered or were walking along the road.
“We found that two officers fired eight shots in total and a third officer discharged a Taser. Both men were shot, and the officer’s Taser connected with Michael Adebolajo.
“It is a testament to the officers’ professionalism that once the men were incapacitated they immediately set about providing first aid to them.
“The investigation found that the firearms officers did not know the full extent of the horrific situation that had taken place and they responded quickly and correctly to deal with Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.
“Given the immediate threat they faced the officers’ use of firearms and Taser was entirely appropriate in order to protect themselves and members of the public.
“What happened in Woolwich on Wednesday, 22 May, was truly appalling, the likes of which we have not seen before and I sincerely hope we do not see again. Our investigation in to the Metropolitan Police Service’s response to this incident found that the officers acted entirely appropriately and their handling of this unfolding incident was one that showed skill and professionalism when they were faced with men determined to wreak havoc on the streets of London.”
An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IPCC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IPCC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IPCC.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
A person is adversely affected is he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
IPCC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer complained about.
Consists of a chair, two deputy chairs, and commissioners – each responsible for specific police forces, guardianship work and individual cases.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever manner it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only take place in certain limited circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IPCC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter; and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into a complaint and produces a report that details the outcome of each allegation. There are four types of investigation: local investigation, supervised investigation, managed investigation and independent investigation.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
The IPCC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
An application by a complainant for a police decision to be reviewed.