“Deeply uncomfortable” Met Commissioner expresses “deep regret” about being unable to provide “definitive answers” – so that’s NOT an acknowledgement that a Met officer caused Blair Peach’s death, let alone an apology

Over thirty years ago Blair Peach died following a demonstration at an anti-National Front demonstration in Southall, during the 1979 General Election campaign.  Today the Metropolitan Police published the report of the investigation into his death.  The publication of the report follows a long campaign by Blair Peach’s family and Inquest, which was supported unanimously by the Metropolitan Police Authority last year.

The decision by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to publish the report and its supporting information should have been a very positive display of openness and transparency by the MPS and a demonstration of how much has changed in policing in the last thirty years.

The report itself contains some devastating findings and demonstrates the mindset of the investigation at the time.  For example, the demonstration in which Blair Peach was involved is described as

” an extremely violent, volatile and a ugly situation where there was serious disturbance by what can be classed as a ‘rebellious crowd’.
The legal definition ‘unlawful assembly’ is justified and the
events should be viewed with that kind of atmosphere
prevailing. Without condoning the death I refer to Archibold,
38th Edition, paragraph 2528 “In case of riot or rebellious
assembly the officers endeavouring to disperse the riot are
justified in killing them at common law if the riot cannot
otherwise be suppressed”.”

The investigation report found that: 

“Whilst it can reasonably be concluded that a police officer struck the fatal blow, and that that officer came from carrier U.11, I am sure that it will be agreed that the present situation is far from satisfactory and disturbing.”

It went on:

“The attitude and untruthfulness of some of the officers involved is a contributory factor.

“It is understandable that because of the events of the day officers were confused, or made mistakes, but one would expect better recall of events by trained police officers.

“However, there are cases where the evidence shows that certain officers have clearly not told the truth.”

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, however, in his statement today only felt able to say:

“As a police officer with over thirty four years service reading and being briefed on the investigation reports leaves me feeling deeply uncomfortable. Thirty one years later we have still been unable to provide the family and friends of Blair Peach with definitive answers regarding the terrible circumstances of his death. That is a matter of deep regret.”

This falls a long way short of acknowledging the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police Service for what happened.

Clearly, “sorry” remains a very difficult word for a Commissioner to utter.

A pity.

5 thoughts on ““Deeply uncomfortable” Met Commissioner expresses “deep regret” about being unable to provide “definitive answers” – so that’s NOT an acknowledgement that a Met officer caused Blair Peach’s death, let alone an apology”

  1. Yes time an apology was volunteered when it is absolutely clear that police killed Blair Peach.

    Hope to be forgiven for raising another matter. The toff tory Drax in S Dorset has distributed leaflets featuring him with prison officers etc & also The County’s Chief Constable (from memory that is his title) with claims that he is working with them.

    Is that legal? Decent? Honest?

    Local MP Jim Knight once again has them under the hammer it seems.

  2. Dear P (Dear Everyone) the police person who murdered Peach left to run a taverna in Corfu. At a duly convened assembly the death sentence was passed “in absentia”. It will be carried out at a time & place to suit the resistance. Yours Respectfully, Kirill Iosefovich Raskolnikov, 756th Unit., Red Army.

  3. Had the police been left to their own devices, they and the Police Complaints Commission wouldhave produced the same report on the death of Mr Tomlinson. We’ve already seen the lack of truth, the attempts to conceal and the wish to cover it up; these linked to the delay in actually coming forward with anything still make me suspect the outcome will be a large container of whitewash over the whole disgraceful affair.

  4. Comparison of Tomlinson, who was adopting the sort of anti police agro applauded by at least one poster here, and Blair Peach is an insult to Peach.

    Reality has to be spread very thin when the police are in propagandists’ sights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *