West Yorkshire Police

Following The Fatal Shooting Of Mohammed Yassar Yaqub

A LETTER TO WEST YORKSHIRE’S PCC MARK BURNS-WILLIAMSON AND CHIEF CONSTABLE DEE COLLINS FOLLOWING THE FATAL SHOOTING OF MOHAMMED YASSAR YAQUB

Dear PCC Mark Burns-Williamson and Chief Constable Dee Collins,

In the light of emerging community tensions following the fatal shooting of Mohammed Yassar Yaqub by officers from the West Yorkshire Police on the 2nd of January, JUST is writing to you to express our deep disappointment at the failure of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark-Burns Williamson and the Chief Constable Dee Collins to make a public statement on the incident. Whilst we appreciate that the Constabulary has referred itself to the IPCC where the matter in now being investigated, nonetheless in view of the heightened anxiety levels among local people we consider that taking a purely procedural approach to recent events is unlikely to inspire community confidence. We are therefore seeking clarification from West Yorkshire Police as to what its community communications strategy is going to be in the aftermath of the fatal shooting so as to build trust and confidence in policing operations among ethnic minority communities.

It appears from recent press and media reports that the officers involved in the operation were not wearing body cameras. If true, we are seeking clarification as to why this was the case, particularly as the operation was by the police’s own admission ‘pre-planned.’ We are particularly surprised at the decision as we note from your website statement (https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/BodyWornCameras) that West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson has invested over £2 million pounds from a ‘Transformation Fund’ to support the latest state of the art body worn video cameras. Given the Constabulary’s belief that body cameras ‘have the potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system, further improving integrity and the corroboration of evidence by acting as an ‘independent witness’ we are seeking clarification as to why body cameras were not used in this specific operation.

We understand from the police statement that was issued following the incident that the ‘pre-planned operation’ was undertaken on the basis of ‘information received about criminal possession of a firearm.’ We are therefore seeking clarification on what police protocol and control procedures officers were operating to in the conduct of the operations involving Mohamed Yassar Yaqub and his (alleged) friends.

You will be aware that in a recent IPCC Report entitled ‘Police Use of Force: evidence from complaints, investigations and public perception’  outlined negative perceptions from ethnic minority communities on the police use of force. In the context of West Yorkshire, 1438 allegations were made on the Constabulary’s use of force between 2009-14, ranking it among the top five in the country. (see pages 24-25). Under the section Accountability and Recording (see page vii) the Report outlined the following public concerns about police conduct:

  • the lack of information gathered before risk assessments were conducted and force was used.
  • (the absence of) robust methods of recording and monitoring when police officers use force.
  • the use of body worn video … (to) assist with accountability and investigations into how force was used.

In the light of the above concerns, we are seeking clarification on:

  1. What appropriate information/intelligence and risk assessments were undertaken by officers involved in the operation?
  2. What are the methods of recording and monitoring used by West Yorkshire Police when officers use force or are likely to use force?
  3. If a decision was taken not to use body cameras, at what level within the police hierarchy was the decision made and what was the rationale for not having a visual record of the operation. Please let us have your policy document on the use of body cameras in operations involving the West Yorkshire Police.

The 2014 IPCC Report also made clear recommendations relating to the police use of force (see page x). The Report states:
‘To help make sure that the study leads to changes in police practice, we have made a number of recommendations to police stakeholders and the police… A fundamental and underlying recommendation is the need to record, analyse and publish information on all uses of force.’

  • Other recommendations include:
  • Communications and de-escalation
  • Special considerations when dealing with vulnerable groups.
  • Training to ensure consistency with national guidance, and specific training in dealing with unconscious bias.
  • Dealing with incidents in medical settings.
  • Use of body worn video
  • Understanding community impact.

In relation to the very clear recommendations set out by the IPCC we are seeking clarification on

  1. whether these recommendations (and others outlined in Chapter 6 of the Report) were considered and if so at what level?
  2. whether these recommendations were formally implemented? If the IPCC recommendations were overlooked please explain the reasons why. We would be grateful if you would address each of the recommendation points listed above in terms of action/lack of action taken by the Constabulary.

We look forward to an early response.

Nadeem Murtuja
Chair
JUST Yorkshire

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Use of the name Just Yorkshire is extremely misleading….you do not represent Yorkshire your only objective appears to be to stir racial tension in Yorkshire.
    You dont represent the community in Huddersfield you are as stated Bradford based, funnily enough that is exactly where the TV evidece of members of YOUR community commited crimes of Criminal Damage and incitement last tuesday.
    Further members of the ASian community illegally parked cars all over the slip roads at Ainley Top on wednsday evening .

    Instead of all this shouting and accusing wait till the IPCC reports as the Liver[ool 96 committee clearly showed it may take years but eventua;y the truth will out. Please also bear in mind that only British law applies in England and only British courts can dispense justice if you cannot control your community you will start major civil unrest.
    Please ensure your name and web details accurately reflect that small group of Yorkshire residents you claim to represent.

  2. Mr. Murtuja

    You severely discredit yourself and the groups you claim to represent by harassing the police over this incident. West Yorkshire Police were clearly doing their job in protecting all of us from armed thugs like Yassar Yaqub on this occasion and they should be applauded and supported.

    I see no “community tensions” as you put it, only the predictable response of his associates and family together with a few obviously like minded individuals in Bradford set on causing unrest. It is precisely organisations like your own that should be showing leadership in condemning the bad apples in the Asian and other minority communities rather than taking the default position of attempting to undermine West Yorkshire Police.

  3. “in view of the heightened anxiety levels among local people…”
    The only anxiety levels are from the wannabe Gangstas who have lost a cash cow.
    The local community of all persuasions are completely pissed off with the Police pussy footing around and liaising with partner agencies/community leaders (unelected) etc etc when we just want them to ENFORCE the law.
    What don’t you people understand about teh law?
    Do you think you are above it?

  4. JUST Yorkshire

    Very well said JUST YORKSHIRE, with a clear focus on establishing facts not heightening emotive reactions for the sake of causing unrest. Some contradictory statements made earlier I.e. comments about British law applying in Britain when that is exactjy what you have based your very legitimate questions to the IPCC on. Sadly some racist undertones too from those commenting on your post, with demqnds about ‘controlling your own communities’ not to mention how illogical such statements are, Do ‘white communities control their criminals?, Are white communities held responsible for the conduct of their young people? Are we all not part of the same communities? WY Police are just as accountable as the rest of us and have a duty to act ‘lawfully, fairly, and with proportionate responses especially in situations of potential leathal force!
    White ‘gnagstas’ with firearms somehow don’t share the same fate as Yasser and other BME Iindivisuals, and if they did no doubt there would be just as much outrage at the seemingly lack of due process and transparency. From what I have heard and researched about JUST Yorkshire, they work across the region and work WITH institutions like the IPCC,…not against them.
    They have articulated a meaningful response in a responsible way and clearly have the intelligence, credibility and courage to demand an honest and open response in return. They are not responsible for individual actions of anyone in any community and to level such ridiculous accusations and criticisms is not helpful and provoking unecesarry anger when emotions are already running high. They have presented themselves with dignity and reasonableness from what I have seen and read and whatever he truth is I am sure they will get to it which is what we all want isn’t it. Don’t bash the good guys, they are just trying to establish and present the facts within the parameters of British law and human rights. Put your prejiuduces and antagonism to one side and let these guys liaise with the IPCC etc and try to manage a very difficult situation as fairly and robustly as it warrants.

    Thanks JUST YORKSHIRE. From, Peace Campaigner.

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