Thank god the police don’t shoot people more often

I’m with the rodent in thinking the Duggan Inquest verdict deserves a healthy dose of scepticism. I’m not saying it’s a stitch up, but giving the police 8 hours to confer in private before submitting their evidence doesn’t fill me with confidence. I don’t find it comforting either that a lawful killing can follow from an operation completely botched at every stage.

But the Duggan Inquest is above my paygrade, so I won’t pontificate. I haven’t followed the case too closely and I don’t have a legal background. That won’t stop lots of other people. But they’re twats who probably haven’t read the jury’s statement. The maximum I could offer is my opinion and you know what people say about opinions.

What I can offer though is surprising stats. Since 1990,  1,475 people have died in police custody or following contact with the police. However, in this country the police almost never shoot at people. Which is a blessed relief given how they’ve handled Duggan’s killing. I was surprised by how often the police shoot people, so I’ll reproduce the yearly tallies for you.

From April to April 2001-02 the police fired their guns eleven times.

In 2002-03 ten shots were fired.

In 2003-04 four shots were fired.

In 2004-05 five shots were fired.

In 2005-06 nine shots were fired.

In 2006-07 three shots were fired.

In 2007-08 seven shots were fired.

In 2008-09 five shots were fired.

In 2009-10 six shots were fired.

In 2010-11 four shots were fired.

In 2011-12 five shots were fired, one hit Mark Duggan’s arm then one hit him in the chest killing him and sparking a weekend of rioting. These 85 shots killed 44 people. My sympathy goes out to Mark Duggan’s family and the families of the other 43 dead people.

But over the last decade fewer than 0.1% of all incidents involving police guns see them fired. While the police are discharging tasers thousands of times a year, they almost never use guns. I am very glad they don’t know we know what happens when they do.

For grisly context,  in 2011 American police shot 1,146  people and killed 607. However, they don’t even collate stats on how often the police discharge their weapons, so we can’t make a like for like comparison.

As usual the conclusion is: our system is pretty fucked up, but at least we’re not American. 

UPDATE: The NYPD fired their guns 92 times in 2010, 13% less than the 106 shootings in 2009. It’s the lowest number in the 40 years that the NYPD has tracked such data. That’s about 20 times more than Bris did, for a population a third of the UK’s. Pretty scary stuff.

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