Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

IPCC: No cover-up by G20 police

Ian Tomlinson collapsed and died on the fringes of the G20 demonstrations in London on April 1 2009
Ian Tomlinson collapsed and died on the fringes of the G20 demonstrations in London on April 1 2009

The police watchdog has found no evidence of any attempt by the police to cover up Ian Tomlinson's death at the G20 protests, its report has revealed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched an inquiry amid complaints of "seriously misleading" information from the Metropolitan Police on the evening of his death on April 1, 2009.

The watchdog reviewed all press office contact, including prepared lines for the media, by the Met and the City of London Police with the media between April 1 and April 7.

The key evidence included claims that the police must have known what was later confirmed by witnesses, photographic and video evidence and the misinformation that Mr Tomlinson died from a heart attack.

IPCC commissioner Deborah Glass acknowledged that the media played a crucial role in obtaining vital evidence surrounding the circumstances leading up to Mr Tomlinson's death.

But, in a report published on Monday, she added: "While it does not make the circumstances of Mr Tomlinson's death any less disturbing, our investigation found no evidence that any press officer, or any police officer responsible for agreeing media lines, set out to mislead anyone.

"Nor have we seen any evidence that the police attempted to cover up the circumstances of Mr Tomlinson's death."

In one of three reports published by the IPCC, the watchdog found no evidence of misconduct by any police officers who came into contact with Mr Tomlinson on at least three occasions as he tried to pass through cordons on his way home.

It was also concluded that the police plan to disperse demonstrators from the pedestrian area of Royal Exchange Buildings was "proportionate and necessary".

Investigators noted that it was a "matter of concern" that only one officer who did see Pc Simon Harwood push 47-year-old newspaper seller Mr Tomlinson expressed concern and made a written note of it.

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