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The police watchdog has introduced new guidelines to ensure the “information vacuum” which followed Mark Duggan’s shooting - and lead to last year’s riots - is not repeated.

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Last Thursday, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) published its guidance, insisting that “silence is not an option” in the event of another death such as Mr Duggan’s, who died after being shot by a police firearms officer last August.

Deborah Glass, IPCC deputy chair, said: “This should not happen again. We now need to work closely with the police service to educate and inform officers of all ranks about this guidance so that the myth that police are gagged is finally laid to rest.”

Among the new guidance was a recommendation that police take the lead in speaking to the public when there is a risk of “tension or potential disorder”, as long as the information released does not jeopardise an IPCC investgation.

It is also noted that families and other “interested parties” should be kept briefed, in order to avoid them being “taken by surprise” as a result of IPCC public statements.

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