Menezes Family sidelined by Metropolitan Police Authority

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MEMBERS of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) were today made aware of a complaint by The Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign about being sidelined from the release of the MPA’s Stockwell Scrutiny report.

Members of the MPA were issued with a copy of a letter detailing the complaints as they met to discuss the Stockwell Scrutiny during the monthly MPA Full Authority meeting.

The purpose of the scrutiny was to look at how the Metropolitan Police had responded to recommendations from the IPCC.

The Chair of the MPA, Len Duvall stated he was ‘shocked’ that the family had not been informed through their solicitors.

The MPA issued a short response letter during the meeting.

The family now await a response from Len Duvall, who pledged he would write a second letter to the family about future engagement with them.

Copy of letter to MPA:

‘23 July 2008

Dear Len Duvall, Jeanette Arnold, Dee Doocey and Faith Boardman

Re: MPA meeting on Stockwell Scrutiny

As MPA members responsible for the Stockwell Scrutiny document I am writing to you on behalf of the family of Jean Charles de Menezes to register a complaint at the handling of the timing of the publication of the MPA’s Stockwell Scrutiny and the lack of any attempt to involve the family or their legal representatives in the proceedings.

I would like all members of the MPA to be sent this email and made aware of the family’s disquiet over this issue.

The Menezes family, their lawyers and campaign members were only made aware of completion and publication of the Stockwell Scrutiny publication by reading news coverage of the report in the press last Friday.

This is despite a specific point being raised at the MPA meeting the family attended in November 2007 where assurances were given that the family would be kept involved and aware of the report’s progress.

I have also personally made several phone calls to the MPA about this report since January 2008 asking to be kept informed and kept up to date about how the report was proceeding.

It was therefore deeply disappointing to not to have been able to see an advance copy.

I would also like to register my unhappiness over the timing of its publication coming only days before the anniversary of Jean Charles de Menezes death.

The family had planned two commemorative events for the anniversary in both of which they and their representatives ploughed much physical and emotional energy into.

As none of us were aware that the report was coming out and having already been focussed on pre-planned activities, this has made it impossible for us to properly read, examine and respond in the time that has been passed, let alone come to the MPA meeting tomorrow.

This brings me onto my final point. We were only informed that the MPA would be discussing the report at this Thursday’s meeting, this morning (Wednesday) when Sally Benton from the MPA phoned the office of Birnberg Pierce (the family’s solicitors) to ask if the family would like to attend the MPA meeting which would be discussing the Stockwell report.

One day’s notice at the best of times is unacceptable but as I am sure anyone who has experienced the bereavement of a close family member will appreciate, anniversaries can be very difficult times.

This bereavement has the additional burden of the family’s feeling of injustice. So given the emotional difficulty of any date that is near an anniversary, expecting the family to be in a fit state to attend the MPA meeting at one days notice where members will be discussing a report which the family and their representatives have not had time to properly digest is simply unreasonable.

The family and legal representatives of Jean Charles de Menezes will therefore not be able to attend the MPA meeting tomorrow. A representative from the family campaign, Estelle du Boulay will be attending the meeting however to report proceedings back to the family and their legal team.

Best wishes

Yasmin Khan

Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign.’

The MPA responded with the note below.

‘24 July 2008

Dear Ms Khan

First of all I want to apologise on behalf of the MPA scrutiny panel to the de Menezes family for our failure to send them a copy of our Stockwell scrutiny report prior to the publication.

The Chair and the members of the panel were unaware that the family and their lawyers had not been informed.

The report is about learning lessons – not about the sequence of events of 22 July 2005.

There was however no intention to exclude the de Menezes family and on behalf of my colleagues I wish to say we are sorry for any hurt this may have caused the family.

I give my personal assurances that any views they offer will be taken into account when the Authority considers further reports after the inquest.

Catherine Crawford

Chief Executive to the Authority.’