GPF attacks RGP’s ‘shameful’ stance in collision inquest
The Gibraltar Police Federation has criticised the position taken by the Royal Gibraltar Police during the inquest into the deaths of two Spanish who were killed in a fatal collision with a police vessel in Spanish waters, adding that its stance was “shameful”.
Jurors in the inquest found that Ceuta residents Mohamed Abdeslam Ahmed, 40, and Mustafa Dris Mohamed, 49, were unlawfully killed.
In a statement, the GPF said it was aware that its members affected by this incident were taking legal advice on what action may be taken following the jury’s finding.
“We understand that there are two fatalities in this tragic accident and from all our members at the GPF, we extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased,” the GPF said in a statement.
“The Federation is extremely concerned with the position taken by the RGP during the inquest.”
“The Federation observed throughout the proceedings, the hostile and adversarial conduct of the RGP against its own officers.”
“The Federation firmly believes that this public stance was wholly unnecessary, given the nature of the proceedings, and that this was to the prejudice of the officers involved, given that the organisation responsible for them had very obviously and publicly condemned and pre-judged them.”
The GPF said that despite the extensive nature of the investigations against the officers involved, no senior officer of the RGP gave any evidence at the inquest, despite the court hearing evidence suggesting shortcomings in matters such as procedures and policies, training, and management oversight within the RGP Marine Section.
“These points were brought up repeatedly by each of the officers giving evidence, and by other members of the RGP Marine Section who also gave evidence in the inquest,” the GPF said.
“However, this appears to be brushed to one side.”
“The RGP is often quoted as saying, ‘the welfare of the officers is at the forefront of everything we do’.”
“Unfortunately, this could not have been any further from the case on this occasion.”
The Federation said it was particularly concerned by the fact that the RGP felt it necessary to publicly state it did not believe the officers involved, adding that this comment was “totally unnecessary”, and “made to distance the organisation from any culpability.”
“Members of the RGP Marine Section face some extremely difficult and challenging situations, as do all our members in the force,” the Federation spokesman said.
“They deploy in the middle of night on high-speed pursuits because that is what they are expected to do by the organisation, with no management oversight or specific high-speed pursuit training.”
“Yet when an accident happens, as it was bound to happen, the organisation has turned its back on its own people, distanced itself from any responsibility and then publicly attacked the officers’ integrity.”
“The Federation has found the position taken by the RGP throughout the matter to be shameful.”
“The Federation will not be making any further statements or comments in relation to this matter as this is now being looked into by our legal representatives.”
Reacting to the Federation statement, a spokesman for the RGP said: “The Commissioner notes the public statement issued today by the Gibraltar Police Federation."
“The RGP does, in fact, place the best interests and the welfare of its officers at the forefront of everything it does."
“Given the ongoing legal processes, however, the Commissioner will not make any further comment at this time."
“The Commissioner will make a full statement at the conclusion of the various processes presently underway.”