Concern at Duggan verdict critics

Herald Series: Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley talking outside the Royal Courts of Justice after the lawful killing verdict on Mark Duggan Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley talking outside the Royal Courts of Justice after the lawful killing verdict on Mark Duggan

A police chief has criticised public figures for questioning the verdict in the Mark Duggan inquest as he revealed 1,300 officers were put on standby to quash any outbreaks of disorder in its wake.

Scotland Yard was poised for extreme left wing groups and local gangs to high-jack a vigil staged by relatives outside Tottenham police station over the weekend, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said.

Armed criminals "chanced their luck" in the days after the verdict believing the Metropolitan Police would be "too timid" to run operations but eight firearms were seized and the same number of arrests made, he also told the Home Affairs committee.

Jurors last week concluded that the father of six was lawfully killed by police. The inquest jury of seven women and three men also found by a majority verdict that it was most likely that Mr Duggan had the gun in the taxi, but threw it on to a nearby grass verge before he was shot.

London MP Diane Abbott tweeted that night that she was "baffled" by the jury's verdict - a move that was described by Tories as "irresponsible".

Mr Rowley told the Home Affairs Select Committee: "We are a little concerned that some public figures have questioned the jury's verdict and we believe the verdict should inspire confidence in the modern Met, professional, well-trained, judicious in its use of force but ready to be held to account for its actions."

Mr Duggan, 29, was killed when the taxi in which he was travelling was stopped by armed police in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011.

They believed he planned to collect a gun from another man, Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, and then go on to Broadwater Farm, also in Tottenham, possibly to carry out a revenge killing over the death of his cousin.

His death at the hands of a Metropolitan Police marksman sparked riots across the country.

Relatives of Mr Duggan held a peaceful vigil outside Tottenham police station on Saturday and proclaimed "we are not a gangster family".

Around 500 protesters gathered outside the three-storey building in north London but, despite police fears, it passed off without trouble.

Mr Rowley said: "As we approached the weekend I had two streams of intelligence that concerned me. One was of multiple extreme left wing protest groups looking to take part in the vigil and some of those have previously been associated with disorder and secondly there was intelligence of local criminal youth gang members expressing the desire to prompt disorder."

Mr Rowley faced angry crowds who called out ''murderer'' and ''murdering scum'' last week as he tried to address the press outside the Royal Courts of Justice following the inquest verdict.

He told MPs that action is being taken against a protester believed to have thrown an object at him but he was not pursuing anyone for spitting at him.

The police chief also dismissed suggestions that there would continue to be controversy about the circumstances that led to Mr Duggan's death.

"I'm not sure about that. I think the controversy arises because we have had two and a half years of rumour, innuendo and mischief and I think you can read a million and one theories on the internet and that's played out."

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