Police to provide 'urgent' report on Lawrence inquiry claims

Deputy Mayor says Met will respond to allegations about corruption and cover-up in murder case
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The Independent Online

Scotland Yard is to provide an "urgent" official response to the allegations reported in The Independent about police corruption on the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry, Boris Johnson's deputy disclosed yesterday.

Kit Malthouse, London's Deputy Mayor for Policing, has asked the Metropolitan Police for a report into the claims that it covered up important evidence about the conduct of its inquiry into the racist killing of the 18-year-old in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993.

On Tuesday, The Independent detailed new claims that the lead investigating officer in the botched first inquiry, former Detective Sergeant John Davidson, was a major player in a ring of bent detectives "operating as a professional organised crime syndicate" and had a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris, the father of one of the two men jailed for Stephen's murder in January.

Mr Davidson denies he was corrupt and in 1999, the Macpherson inquiry blamed incompetence rather than corruption for the police's failure – and branded the Met "institutionally racist".

Following calls from Downing Street for detectives to pursue any new evidence in the case, the Metropolitan Police was asked about The Independent's report at a meeting of the London Assembly's Police and Crime Committee at City Hall yesterday.

Craig Mackey, Deputy Commissioner, said the Met's "initial assessment" of the story was that it did not contain anything not known to the Met and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which dismissed previous allegations of corruption in a Panorama programme in 2006.

He added, however, that the Met wanted to meet the journalists who wrote the story, Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn, "to better understand what they consider is new evidence before any final decision is made".

Pressed by London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold whether the police had supplied all material to the Macpherson inquiry, the Deputy Commissioner replied: "A number of these issues were looked at by the IPCC investigation five years ago. That's why I emphasise we have to look at the allegations and we have to look at the documentation supplied to the IPCC and we want to see the Independent journalists so we can better understand that."

Mr Malthouse said he had demanded an "urgent report" from the Met. He said: "The article in The Independent came as news to me. Once the report is obtained it will be circulated."

Today, Stephen's parents, Neville and Doreen Lawrence, are due to meet the Met and the Crown Prosecution Service to discuss any future inquiries to bring the remaining killers to justice.