Serious questions about the fitness of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to investigate far-reaching allegations of police corruption have been raised by a former member of the Macpherson Inquiry. The judge’s investigation is said to have been misled by Scotland Yard about the extent of corrupt police involvement in the 1993 investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Dr Richard Stone, an adviser to the Macpherson Inquiry, said: “I question whether the IPCC is a fit and proper organisation to be involved in this investigation.” He said he believed the IPCC had “inadequate resources and an inappropriate culture” for such investigations.
His criticism of the police watchdog follows the IPCC’s announcement that it is investigating Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, over Scotland Yard’s failure to pass on documents about corruption probes into a detective investigating Lawrence’s murder.
The family of the 1987 murder victim Daniel Morgan have called for an independent judicial inquiry into the Lawrence case. Alastair Morgan, the victim’s brother, said: “Only a judicial inquiry can properly address whether the police misled the Macpherson Inquiry about corruption. The fact they are being called upon at this point to investigate a catastrophic mess in their own back yard is laughable. The unpalatable truth is this: growing numbers of people distrust the police and there are good reasons for this distrust. The Lawrence family, like us, have been fighting for answers for more than two decades.”
He also challenged Scotland Yard to produce secret corruption files said to have been destroyed. “The corruption files are likely to have held key information on suspect officers on both the Stephen Lawrence murder and my brother’s, indeed they may well have contained further information on links between the two cases,” he said.
It was also revealed that Mark Ellison QC, the senior barrister appointed by the Home Office to review Scotland Yard’s investigations into alleged police corruption, admitted to potential witnesses he was appointed because the IPCC and the police internal review systems “are not particularly trusted”.
Legal observers have pointed out the paradox of the fact that despite the Home Secretary actively choosing Mark Ellison over the IPCC to head a police corruption probe after two reports concluded there was no evidence of a cover up, the IPCC is once again – on referral from the Metropolitan Police – investigating the same issues Theresa May chose not to task them with.
British injustice: cases that shamed the UK
British injustice: cases that shamed the UK
1/4 Abdel Hakim Belhadj
The prominent Gaddafi opponent and now politician alleged that the British government allowed a CIA rendition back to Libya in 2004 where he was tortured, incarcerated for years and interrogated by agents including, he claimed, British ones. His case was ruled out by a High Court judge who said it risked harming British interests
2/4 Baha Mousa
The Iraqi died in Army custody in 2003 after he was beaten and abused by troops. The case resulted in the jailing of Corporal Donald Payne in 2007 – the first member of the British armed forces to be convicted of a war crime
3/4 Binyam Mohamed
The Ethiopian-born UK resident was secretly rendered to Guantanamo Bay after being seized in Pakistan in 2002. Eight years later, British judges disclosed CIA information which showed that MI5 and MI6 knew that he had been subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment
4/4 Paulo Muoka Nzili (2nd left)
One of three Kenyans to sue the British government in 2012 claiming they were tortured during the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s. He said colonial authorities responded with lethal force. The case was settled out of court
Baroness Lawrence, Stephen’s mother, has previously expressed doubts about the value of the IPCC. A Parliamentary Select Committee concluded that the IPCC was “woefully underequipped and hamstrung” and had “neither the powers nor the resources it needs to get to the truth when the integrity of the police is in doubt”.
David Winnick, a senior Labour member of the committee, confirmed that questions remained over the IPCC’s abilities: “They need much more resources to do their job properly.” He said there was also an “over-reliance” on former detectives to investigate, but added, “I don’t question their integrity.”
The IPCC annual budget has fallen 13 per cent to £30m in the past four years, but Dame Anne Owers, the IPCC chair, denies that cash constraints prevent it from undertaking independent investigations.
The IPCC declined to comment.Reuse content