Friday, December 09, 2005

IPCC 'Press Conference'

An IPCC press conference today has triggered an unfortunate outbreak of 'inverted comma' headlines. I read recently (can't remember where, sorry) that the BBC were trying to avoid doing this but they don't seem to have managed today:
Tube shooting charges 'possible'
The Telegraph goes with:
Police 'may be charged over tube shooting'
And ITN News gets it horribly, horribly wrong:
Police 'likely' to be charged over de Menezes shooting
That isn't what was said at all. Someone at ITN needs a good kick up the backside for that one.

In short, the IPCC has said that it is 'likely' that their final report into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes will be passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). If that happens the IPCC report will include a list of criminal offences which may have been committed. It is then up to the CPS to decide whether anyone can or should be charged with any of these possible offences. No-one has said that any police officer is 'likely' to be charged at this stage.

The timing of this announcement is difficult to understand. The statement issued on behalf of the de Menezes family said:
We have supported the IPCC and the family have always accepted that the IPCC investigation would remain confidential. It is therefore very alarming that the IPCC have inexplicably released partial information in this manner to the media. The IPCC recently announced it was investigating the information released by the Metropolitan Police in the hours following Jean Charles's death, including off-the-record briefings to journalists. We are dismayed to find that the IPCC appear to have adopted similar tactics. The IPCC's credibility has already been brought into question following the leak of key witness statements in August. These additional revelations can only undermine its credibility.
I agree. What is the IPCC playing at? The final report is due in January so why have they decided to tell us today that this possible future action is 'likely' but that they could 'not give a complete guarantee of that'? It doesn't seem to make any sense, especially from an organisation which claims to take the confidential nature of their work so seriously. It appears that they might have broken their own rules by talking about this before their investigation is completed.

I'd like to think there's still a chance that the investigation won't be a whitewash but this sort of strangeness just adds fuel to my doubts. Anyone have any idea why the IPCC made this announcement today?

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