Labour urges new inquiry into Lawrence police 'corruption'

 

A new Macpherson-style inquiry should examine allegations that Metropolitan Police corruption derailed the hunt for Stephen Lawrence's killers, as well as fresh accusations of racism in the force, the shadow Home Secretary demanded last night.

The Independent uncovered fresh evidence last month that an officer who played a key role in the bungled police investigation into Stephen's murder had links to the criminal underworld. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is understood to be considering ordering a public inquiry into the conduct of the Lawrence investigation.

But the shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, is urging Ms May to go further and order a wide-ranging public examination of the Met's progress in tackling prejudice since 1999, when the Macpherson inquiry concluded it was "institutionally racist".

The issue has returned to haunt Scotland Yard with 12 cases of alleged racism within the force now being investigated – six of them by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met Commissioner, has warned he would not stand for racists in his force and promised to do "whatever is in my power" to drive them out.

There have been widespread calls for the Macpherson inquiry to be reconvened in the light of new allegations of criminality involving Detective Sergeant John Davidson, who was at the heart of the initial police investigation into Stephen's racist murder in April 1993. Supporters of the move include the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, and his Labour challenger, Ken Livingstone.

However, Ms Cooper said the terms of any new inquiry must be extended to examine the effectiveness of the Met's work in rooting out racism. In a letter to Ms May, she said: "I believe it is in the interests of the Met, and the police service as a whole, that 13 years on from the Macpherson report, we should not only confront the latest allegations, but publicly review progress made in eliminating racism in the police service.

"The death of Stephen Lawrence and the inquiry which followed shocked the country. There can be no room for any allegations surrounding those events to not be fully investigated."

She suggested that a reconvened inquiry would evaluate the Met's success in achieving 70 recommendations by Macpherson in stamping out racism, including measures to encourage recruitment of ethnic-minority officers. It should also examine whether corruption played a part in the original investigation into Stephen's murder and whether information about corruption was not given to the Macpherson inquiry, Ms Cooper said. The Home Office refused to comment on suggestions that Ms May could reopen the inquiry.

Politicians of all parties reacted in dismay when The Independent uncovered new allegations about DS Davidson. Police files claimed he dealt "in all aspects of criminality", while a police supergrass alleged he admitted officers had a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris, the father of one of Stephen's killers. The allegations were withheld from the Lawrence family and not passed to the Macpherson inquiry or to the police watchdog's inquiry into claims of corruption.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen