Over a year after he died, the family of Habib Ullah are still asking how he died.
The family of Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah, who died whilst being arrested during a routine stop and search in a car park in High Wycombe in July 2008, have recently met with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to assess the situation in terms of the investigation. The family have asked the IPCC to release an update immediately to ensure that there is clear communication around the case and to quell local speculation that the investigation has been completed. Habib’s widow Mussarat and his brothers and sisters still feel that there is a strong case against the officers involved in the arrest and that the level of force used was excessive.
Another key development in the last few months has been an apology to the family campaign on behalf of the former local police area commander to High Wycombe police. A dispute arose after Thames Valley Police (TVP) responded to a letter sent by the family campaign which was organising a rally to mark Habib’s death. The superintendent himself recognised the insensitivity of terminology used in the letter and has received management advice regarding this ‘error of judgement’. Both the family and campaign were glad to see that some steps had been taken but still want to ensure that the officers who restrained Habib are dealt with appropriately.
In the last few weeks, the family and the campaign have been increasingly concerned about the spate of deaths in custody that have taken place in Buckinghamshire and a recent police pursuit in High Wycombe which left an elderly man in a critical condition and which has been referred to the IPCC. They are concerned that a culture of impunity might be developing amongst some TVP officers and have asked the local MP Paul Goodman to make representations to the Thames Valley Police Authority and senior police officers as a matter of urgency.
In the last week, members of Habib’s family attended the ongoing inquest into the death of Mikey Powell, who died after being sprayed with CS gas, restrained and then run over by police officers in Birmingham in 2003, so that they could provide support to the family and prepare themselves for the inquest into Habib’s death that will take place next year or early 2011.
On Sunday 20 December 2009 (4-6pm) there will be a candlelit vigil outside High Wycombe police station to mark what would have been Habib’s forty-first birthday.
Justice for Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah Family Campaign: Facebook page
Latest YouTube video: First anniversary vigil for Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah – 3 July 2009