Stephen Lawrence murder: Met criticised after finding no corruption evidence
Conclusion of report commissioned after 'The Independent' revealed new details about case
Scotland Yard said yesterday it had found no evidence that police corruption played any role in the original bungled inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
The two-month police review, prompted by fresh allegations of police wrong-doing published by The Independent and The Guardian, also found that no documents were withheld from an official inquiry that examined the failed police response to the 1993 racist killing of the black teenager.
The findings were challenged by the Lawrence family's MP, Clive Efford, who said that only an independent investigation would resolve allegations centred on two serving officers who played a role in the initial police inquiry.
In March Doreen Lawrence, Stephen's mother, called for the official inquiry to be reopened after The Independent published details from secret police intelligence files for the first time detailing the scale of alleged criminality against one of the key investigators. The family had not seen the files before.
"The only thing that's going to satisfy people is for this to be looked at by an independent public inquiry," said Mr Efford, the MP for Eltham.
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has offered to meet Ms Lawrence and is considering her demands. Ms May will also receive a copy of the Scotland Yard report and one by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which conducted a separate investigation. The IPCC carried out an inquiry in 2006 after allegations of police corruption in a BBC Panorama programme. The IPCC said yesterday it found nothing to suggest it should revise those findings. But the IPCC report was criticised last night after it stated that an Independent reporter said he had no evidence to back up its allegations. Chris Blackhurst, editor of The Independent, said: "We have complete confidence in the rigour of our journalism and our report brought important new details to light. Extracts from these files were seen by the Lawrence family for the first time when we published them. It is important that these issues are opened up to full independent scrutiny."
The Metropolitan Police interviewed retired senior officers involved in anti-corruption operations in the 1980s, trawled thousands of documents in police and national archives, and interviewed counsel from the 1998 Macpherson inquiry. It concluded that it had not "uncovered evidence of corruption or collusion which could have adversely affected or otherwise influenced the path of the original investigation or subsequent investigations".
The claims centred on a former Met Commander Ray Adams and ex-Sgt John Davidson. Secret Met Police files published by The Independent alleged that Mr Davidson was a "major player" in a ring of bent detectives "operating as a professional organised crime syndicate". Both men have denied the wrong-doing.
It followed claims by a former corrupt member of the regional crime squad who became a police supergrass.
The Metropolitan Police report published yesterday said it made known to the public inquiry its concerns about the integrity of Mr Adams and Mr Davidson. The lead counsel, Edmund Lawson, QC, who died in 2009, concluded that some material was not relevant and did not need to be publicly disclosed, according to the report.
The Lawrence family has long alleged that corruption had a part to play in the original inquiry because of a series of errors, including a two-week delay before the main suspects were arrested despite them being named in the first hours after the killing.
David Norris and Gary Dobson were jailed this year for their part in the attack on Mr Lawrence. They will appeal against their convictions.
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