Letter: What chance a people's police?

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NEITHER YOUR leading article ("A time for cool heads", 28 February) nor Geoffrey Robertson's piece ("The real problem with the Met is institutionalised stupidity") deals with the real problem in the Stephen Lawrence affair. The cause of both the institutionalised stupidity and the institutionalised racism is the Met's breathtaking autonomy.

The Willink Royal Commission (1962) said that the problem of police accountability was, in effect, the problem of controlling chief constables. If the Met had been run in the same way as education, the social services and Scottish police forces, there would be fewer superintendents saying they were "confused about their powers of arrest"; Stephen Lawrence might never have been murdered. If the Germans and the Scots can have local democratic control of their police, why can't we? Remember that private member's bill of yours in 1979, Jack?

KEN CLARK

Bedford

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