Mark Duggan officer faces misconduct investigation

Mark Duggan was shot dead on 4 August 2011 in north London, leading to the worst riots in modern English history. Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Demotix/Corbis

An officer involved in the police operation that led to Mark Duggan being shot dead is under investigation for alleged misconduct.

The officer, known only by the code name ZZ46, is the first from the operation to be served with a formal disciplinary notice. Duggan was shot dead on 4 August 2011, shortly after collecting a firearm from gun supplier Kevin Hutchinson-Foster.

The misconduct notice comes after claims that police could have done more to track down Hutchinson-Foster and get his weapons off the street before Duggan collected the gun.

The inquiry is focusing on why ZZ46 did not seek Hutchinson-Foster’s address from the probation service, which held the address of the hostel where he was staying. Duggan’s shooting in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011 led to the biggest riots in modern English history.

Armed police surrounded and confronted him, correctly believing he had picked up a gun from Hutchinson-Foster.

Days before police stopped Duggan, ZZ46 carried out intelligence research for an Operation Trident investigation into Duggan and others alleged to be gang members.

The inquest into Duggan’s death heard that ZZ46 carried out research that identified Hutchinson-Foster as the man Duggan was going to collect a gun from.

But police never got an address for Hutchinson-Foster, despite it being known to the probation service.

The inquiry is being conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission as part of the watchdog’s continuing investigation into the shooting.

The IPCC launched its inquiry into ZZ46 after new evidence emerged at the inquest into Duggan’s death. The inquest jury found that police could have done more to take the gun off the streets in the days before Duggan picked it up. The jury found he was lawfully killed by police but was unarmed when shot. The jury at the inquest which finished in January said: “With respect to the Trident investigation, there was not enough current intelligence and information on Kevin Hutchinson-Foster. There was no emphasis on exhausting all avenues which could have affected reaction and subsequent actions.”

The inquiry into ZZ46 is examining why he did not try to get an address for the Hutchinson-Foster. Law enforcement became aware of intelligence that he had up to three guns before Duggan was shot.

An inquest jury found he was lawfully killed by police but was unarmed when shot. The shooting of Duggan is still a source of controversy for his family. The IPCC’s investigation into the shooting has been heavily criticised by the Duggan family and its report has yet to be completed.

The IPCC has not asked to interview the officer face to face. Instead it asked him to answer written questions about his conduct and decision-making over the guns held by Hutchinson-Foster. The IPCC said: “ZZ46 was served with a misconduct notice following the officer’s questioning by the assistant coroner at the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan. The notice referred specifically to Kevin Hutchinson-Foster.”

In a statement the Met said: “We can confirm that the IPCC requested that we record and refer a conduct matter against an officer to the IPCC. This was done and we await the findings of their investigation.”

Carole Duggan, aunt of Mark, said she was angered not to have been officially informed of the development. She said: “We are, however, pleased that the IPCC recognises, as did the coroner and indeed the jury did during the inquest, that more could have and should have been done by the MPS to have taken the three guns, that Kevin Hutchinson-Foster was known to be in possession of, off of the street before they killed Mark for one of them.

“We are disgusted to have learned about this from the Guardian though and we are further disgusted to hear that this officer has not even been required to attend an interview on this matter as we believe that there is far more to this than mere incompetence.”

The IPCC said its investigation into Duggan’s shooting, once promised to be ready by early 2012, will be ready by the end of this year.:“All investigative steps have now been completed and work is continuing on the final report. “The report will incorporate evidence arising from the inquest into Mark Duggan’s death, and further investigative work taken by the IPCC since the jury returned its verdict in January.

“We continue to keep Mr Duggan ’s family updated with our progress. “We anticipate the final report will be completed before the end of the year.”

Duggan collected a gun minutes before he faced armed police, having travelled to an east London address to collect a shoe box which contained it.

After Duggan was shot, the gun, wrapped in a sock, was found on the other side of a fence three to six metres away from where the fatally injured Duggan fell to the pavement. Neither the gun nor the sock had any DNA or fingerprints from Duggan on it.

The jury concluded Duggan did not have a gun in his hand when officers surrounded him, but he had nevertheless been lawfully killed.

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