Relatives and friends of Mark Duggan arrive at New Testament Church of God in north London for his funeral
Relatives and friends of Mark Duggan arrive at New Testament Church of God in north London for his funeral (Reuters) Reuters

Scotland Yard has publicly apologised to the family of Mark Duggan, whose shooting in Tottenham triggered the August riots, for failing to inform them of his death.

Duggan's family made a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) because the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) did not immediately tell them the 29-year-old had died.

The complaint was upheld by the IPCC on 29 February, leading to the public apology - more than six months after his death.

"We recognise that it was the responsibility of the MPS to keep the family informed immediately following the shooting and up until it was handed over to the IPCC family liaison managers," the Met's north area commander Mak Chrishty said.

"We acknowledge and apologise for the distress caused by not speaking directly to Mark Duggan's parents, Pamela Duggan and Bruno Hall.

"I met with the family of Mark Duggan on 2 September, 2011 and apologised to them directly on behalf of the MPS for the distress caused by officers not attending personally to inform them of their son's death."

In the immediate aftermath of Duggan's death, a police family liaison officer told two of Duggan's relatives at the scene that he had "99 percent certainty" that Mark Duggan was the man who had been shot dead.

This officer told the IPCC that the relatives said the Met should not visit Duggan's parents to tell them of his death. The relatives said they would do it instead.

The relatives later disputed this account. They said they left the scene confused as to whether Duggan was the dead man.

On 5 August, the day after Duggan's death, an IPCC family liaison officer telephoned the family and arranged a formal identification of the body.

IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne admitted that an IPCC representative should have visited the Duggan family, who were confused about the organisation's role, and apologised for its handling of the situation.

"In the aftermath of Mr Duggan's death, his family were very confused and wanted to know what had happened to him. They did not understand the role of the IPCC, nor that the organisation was separate from the police," Cerfontyne said.

"It would have greatly assisted them if a senior representative of the IPCC had visited the family home to introduce the organisation and explain its role.

"What is clear from this case is that a grieving family, suffering from shock, felt badly treated by the police and the IPCC.

"The MPS has apologised to the family for the way in which Mr Duggan's parents became aware of his death and I have told them how sorry I am that the IPCC did not provide more support, nor visit them the day after Mr Duggan's death."

Duggan's mother, Pamela, told the IPCC of her confusion about her son's death.

"A mother's worst nightmare is the police coming to your door to tell you that your child is dead. Because this did not happen, I believed the worst had not happened," she said.

An IPCC investigation into the full circumstances of the shooting is continuing.