Doreen Lawrence has ‘no confidence’ in police after alleged smear campaign


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The Independent Online

The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence told MPs that she had no confidence in police investigating fellow officers following revelations about undercover officers allegedly targeting her family.

Speaking to the Home Affairs select committee, Doreen Lawrence said that “over the years” she was beginning to have a “level of trust” and confidence in officers investigating her son’s death. But she added: “Now I just don’t know what to believe any more. You can’t have police officers investigating each other. It’s proven that’s not the right way to do things.”

Scotland Yard has launched an inquiry after former undercover officer Peter Francis claimed that attempts were made to find information to smear the Lawrence family following Stephen’s murder in April 1993.

Two existing inquiries are examining the claims – a police investigation into the activities of undercover officers and another after allegations of corruption in the original investigation into Stephen’s murder, led by Mark Ellison QC.

Mr Ellison was due to report on his findings this month but told MPs that he was only half-way through the process of examining more than 100 crates of material.

Mrs Lawrence said she believes that undercover officers could have searched for information to smear her family because they were outspoken in their campaign for justice. “At the time it was probably because we were too outspoken and we were questioning how the investigation was run. We were told on a couple of occasions that they had never met any family like us before,” she said.

When asked by committee member Michael Ellis whether she felt as if the officers were spying on her family, she said: “It felt like that, at the time it felt like that. Whenever we asked questions about the investigation we were never given any answers.”

Mrs Lawrence later added: “We were uncomfortable with the liaison officers, we did not understand why they were questioning and asking who people were in our home.”

Mr Ellison told the committee that investigators working on Operation Herne, the police inquiry into the activities of undercover officers, had warned him this year that “some aspects of material” they were examining touched on the Lawrence case. However he would not reveal further details because of a pre-existing agreement to keep “material that belongs to others” confidential until later in his review.

Mr Ellison told the committee that he was about half way through reading material relating to the Lawrence investigation. He said he and junior barrister Alison Morgan, had completed seven months worth of work to date and had been paid a combined £190,000 for their services so far.