United vigils make a mark across UK
On 17th June 2012 people gathered at peaceful vigils to remember fathers that have died in police, prison, mental health and immigration detention.
These nationally organised peaceful vigils took place simultaneously in Manchester, Birmingham, Central London, Brixton, Tottenham, Sheffield, Slough, High Wycombe and a number of other locations across the country.
Tippa Naphtali, Mikey Powell Campaign & 4WardEver UK said; “These deaths have just got to stop. Family campaigners need to take matters into our hands in a manner more unprecedented than anything seen before. We need to adopt intelligent and collaborative responses, working with a single vision and strategy”.
The Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody report published in 2011 stated: in total, there were 5,998 deaths recorded for the 11 years from 2000 to 2010. This is an average of 545 deaths per year.
A UFFC campaign spokesperson said;
“Despite the fact there have been 11 unlawful killing verdicts since 1990 there has never been a successful prosecution.
“Our joint efforts have yielded some results. The police self-investigation of deaths was replaced by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman now investigates deaths in prison and immigration detention. The Attorney General was forced to undergo a review of the role of the Crown Prosecution Service, and corporate manslaughter laws are now extended to custody deaths.
“However, these reforms have not addressed the lack of justice in outstanding cases. We believe that equitable dispensation justice in the UK must be done and be seen to be done if the general public are to enjoy high levels of trust and confidence in the fair administration of justice.
“The poor quality and speed of independent investigations conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and an Inquest process that is seriously under resourced, subject to delay and limited in remit and is not fit for purpose. Both critically fail to protect or support the rights of victims or their families”.
Some words from vigil organisers and participants:
Wesley Ahmed (Manchester)
“The vigil went very well. We had around 150-200 people attend. We started off in Piccadilly Gardens with a singer/song writer Claire Mooney who did a couple of songs dedicated to Anthony’s family, then Marina Anthony’s mum got up and did a very emotional speech which touched everybody’s heart. Janet Alder came and spoke about her fight for justice over Christopher’s death.
“We had a 2 minute silence for everyone who have lost their lives by the Police / State. We held their names up on pieces of paper who have died by the hands of the police, Habib Paps, Christopher Alder, Mark Duggan, Sean Rigg, Ricky Bishop, Ian Tomlinson just to name a few.
“We then had a peaceful march down to Bootle Street Police Station, Manchester and stood outside with our banners chanting NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE.
“We hope the other campaigns vigils went well and we would like to say a big thank you for all their support.We are now one family, we do not just fight for justice for one, we fight justice for ALL.”
Susan Alexander (London)
“I arrived at 12 noon and observed that the [Police] HQ has now been ring-fenced with glass barriers (so banners and posters cannot be erected). I was the only person in attendance apart from 2 journalists.
“This is sad as this was a planned co-ordinated event and developed through Facebook where people said they would be attending.
“It is obvious that in London there is not the same unity/support as there is up north and in other towns and cities, eg; High Wycombe, Brixton, Manchester and the likes. I [departed] at 1.30pm and left the journalists with information about UFFC, INQUEST and a list of all the other bereaved families and names and gave them a brief update of my case.”