source: The Guardian
published: 7 May 2014
Police officers on crime-fighting duties often use unauthorised weapons such as pick-axe handles and special heavier truncheons, the Blair Peach inquest at Hammersmith coroner’s court was told yesterday.
Inspector Douglas Hopkins, the head of Scotland Yard’s No 3 Special Patrol Group, said that the use of these weapons was known to senior officers but, that as a result of the Peach case they would probably be formally issued in future.
The jury was shown 23 items, including knives, iron bars, and wooden staves, which were found in the lockers of two SPG units by police investigating Mr Peach’s death on the streets of Southall, West London, on April 23 last year. His skull was fractured during a demonstration against the National Front.
Mr Hopkins, who admitted keeping his grandfather’s home-made truncheon in his locker, said that the weapons were of the sort kept as mementoes. He said that he had taken the truncheon out on two or three occasions when he worked with the H Division crime squad in the East End of London, but he had not used it since joining the SPG.