Decades after Stephen Lawrence’s death, his family still awaits the full truth of police incompetence and corruption

This latest report confirms further aspects of the case that shame the police and officialdom

Share

Had he lived, Stephen Lawrence would have been celebrating his 40th birthday this year. We do not know how his promising life would have turned out, but we do know that the decades since his murder have been a bleak, bleak tale of official incompetence interrupted only by the taint of corruption and racism. What is so troubling about it is that it has taken such concentrated efforts by successive home secretaries and prime ministers to get anywhere near the truth over such a long period of time.

How many cases like Stephen’s – racially aggravated assaults and victimisation short of murder, and even murders and manslaughters too – have seen the criminals get away with it because of the “institutional racism” of the police? We need look no further for why so many in the black community feel that this country treats them as second-class citizens, at best, and why they still view the police as an alien, oppressive, hostile force, especially in London. The growth of gang culture, the riots of 2011 and the Duggan case – now assuming some of the aspects of the Lawrence case – have to be set in that context. We should not still be in a situation where employment of black and Asian officers is too low, their promotion prospects seem limited and disproportionate numbers of black people are the subjects of stop-and-search procedures.

This latest report confirms further aspects of the case that shame the police and officialdom. There was the despicable spying on his grieving parents by the police themselves, with a view to discrediting their quest for justice, smearing them with imaginary extreme political connections – even during the Macpherson inquiry that sought to investigate the very malpractice being perpetrated by officers of the law: an ugly irony. Then there is what is described in Mark Ellison QC’s report as the “enhanced suspicion” that police officers were under the corrupt influence of Clifford Norris, a serious criminal in his own right and father to murder suspect David Norris. It would be naive to the point of absurdity to suppose that that was the sole unsavoury relationship between the police and the criminal world at the time, or now.

This newspaper also has particular cause to highlight another appalling discovery: the cursory nature of the inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Authority, which challenged some of our reporting on the Lawrence case. We reported some years ago the suspicion that former detective John Davidson may have acted corruptly during the investigation, and that suspicion has been echoed in this report. We hope the IPCC will set the matter straight.

So now we have another home secretary announcing another inquiry. At the end of this next chapter we should move closer to justice, and to determining what went wrong with so many of the previous inquiries that were supposed to set matters straight. The Lawrences are to go through the mill once again. That they have the resolve and the strength to do so is a testament to them as loving, brave, determined parents and citizens. What is equally, dismally apparent is that it is Stephen’s family and friends who are serving a life sentence, and that too many of those responsible for their anguish remain at liberty. For now.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux / Redhat / Solaris / Puppet / SAN

£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

Day In a Page

Silhouette of clubber dancing Hacienda nightclub  

A comedian has opened an alcohol-free nightclub. Is he having a laugh?

Jessica Brown Jessica Brown
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape