Bernard Hogan-Howe's warning to 'other' killers

 

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The Independent Online

Britain's top police officer said today "the other people involved in the murder of Stephen Lawrence should not rest easily in their beds".

Scotland Yard Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe welcomed the convictions of David Norris and Gary Dobson for the racist murder.

And he urged people to come forward with more information about the 1993 killing as he hailed Lawrence family members and forensic experts for their work securing yesterday's guilty verdicts.

The police chief said "we are actively reviewing the consequences of what opportunities might be presented" by yesterday's guilty verdicts by a jury at the Old Bailey.

In a direct appeal for further potential witnesses, he added: "Anything you know, please tell us... We can make a difference in this case still."

When asked about allegations that the Metropolitan Police was still institutionally racist, Mr Hogan-Howe said: "I hope we are not but it is a bit like asking someone if they are a nice person. Are we the best people to ask?"

He said the force was "hugely different from where we were" at the time of Mr Lawrence's death.

Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe welcomed the report, adding: "We need to be open about our contact with the media."

Among Ms Filkin's key recommendations were that "confidential briefings should be the exception", "all contact should be available for audit" and "the rules on gifts and hospitality should be followed and alcohol avoided".

She added: "I recommend greater openness in providing information to the public, much of which will be through the media.

"The two new roles which I suggest - public information and integrity champions - will drive the change, making media contact permissible but not unconditional.

"Unequivocal and sustained leadership must be given."

Her report is one of several inquiries launched surrounding the phone-hacking investigation, which unearthed allegations of payments to officers from journalists.

Ms Filkin's findings on "Ethical Issues Arising From The Relationship Between Police and Media" also come as Lord Leveson's inquiry into press standards is poised to focus on media-police relations.

Last month, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said officers should be banned from accepting free tickets to high-profile events such as Wimbledon, the FA Cup Final or pop concerts.

Sir Denis O'Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, said accepting such hospitality risked creating the perception that police officers had conflicts of interest, damaging the service's reputation in the eyes of the public.

Ms Filkin was called in by former Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson to examine ethical considerations that should underpin relations.

Sir Paul resigned in July amid allegations about the force's PR contract with Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World, who was later arrested on suspicion of phone-hacking.

PA