Police open inquiry into Tottenham riots as unrest continues

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by a Newsnet reporter

As serious disturbances continued in North London for a second night, the Metropolitan police has announced a full inquiry into the riots in Tottenham.  There have been 55 arrests so far in connection with the rioting and looting.  Last night police were reviewing CCTV footage, conducting a forensic examination of the looted and fire-damaged buildings and interviewing witnesses.  More arrests are expected.

Police Commander Adrian Hansock, who is leading the investigation, said: “We continue to work closely with the local community in Tottenham and are grateful for their assistance.  We recognise that they abhor the levels of violence and crime shown; however it is not the wider community who are committing these offences and they do not represent local people’s views.”

On Sunday evening violence broke out in Enfield, three miles north of Tottenham.  Witnesses reported that a police vehicle had its windscreen smashed in with a paving slab, and a group of around 100 youths wearing masks were reported to have gathered in the area.  A local HMV shop was broken into and looted.  Last night police were in the area in significant numbers in an attempt to forestall further violence.

It was also revealed last night that the bullet found lodged in the radio of a police officer on the scene of the shooting of Mark Duggan was police issue.  It now appears that both bullets fired in the incident which resulted in the fatal shooting of Mr Duggan were fired from police guns.  The discovery undermines the initial account provided by the Independent Police Complaints Commission that there was an exchange of fire between Mr Duggan and the police.

Reports in the Guardian newspaper say that although the bullet found lodged in the officer’s radio is still undergoing complete analysis, reliable sources have confirmed that it is a police issue bullet.  These are easily recognisable as the Metropolitan Police uses a special type of hollowed out bullet which is designed not to pass through an object.  

The revelation will only fuel the anger in Tottenham about the killing of Mark Duggan by armed officers.  

Speaking to the BBC, Rachel Cerfontyne, a commissioner with the IPCC, said Mr Duggan had not been “assassinated in an execution style” and that there was “misinformation” about the death on Thursday.

“The distress that Mr Duggan’s family are in the midst of is understandable, but the violence and disorder we have witnessed over the last 24 hours can never be acceptable,” she added.

Ms Cerfontyne said she was “very sorry” if the Duggan family felt they had not been supported or kept informed but added that the family had been contacted by investigators on Friday, Saturday and today.

A police officer was also shot during the incident on Thursday, but his injuries were not serious and he was later released from hospital.  The police operation had been planned in advance as part of Metropolitan force’s Operation Trident, which specialises in tackling gun crime in the Black community.