'Elements' of Metropolitan Police still institutionally racist, Stephen Lawrence's mother says

'They think because they’ve got the power they should be able to do what they like'

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 17 May 2018 23:39
Comments
Stephen Lawrence murder: Doreen Lawrence reacts to Gary Dobson and David Norris guilty verdict in 2012

Parts of the Metropolitan Police are still institutionally racist, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has said.

Doreen Lawrence said some officers “still don’t get it” and those out on the beat have “no relation” to the community they are policing.

Her 18-year-old son was fatally stabbed by a gang of racists in Eltham, southeast London, on 22 April 1993.

The murder was a watershed moment in modern race relations in the UK, after the subsequent Macpherson Report concluded the police made mistakes and were guilty of institutional racism.

Asked if it was still the case, she told The House magazine: “I think there’s elements still there because they still don’t understand – they still don’t get it – that you cannot treat people like that.”

Doreen Lawrence says some officers 'still don’t get it' and those out on the beat have 'no relation' to the community they are policing

Baroness Lawrence said stop and search powers have a place but must be “intelligence-led”.

“I think senior officers probably get it, they understand that’s what they need to do,” she added.

“I feel that officers on the beat, they have no relation to the community that they’re policing.

“They think because they’ve got the power they should be able to do what they like – no, you’re not.

“I just feel that those sorts of conversations and that sort of training does not happen in the way in which it should.

“That’s why we have the discourse between the young people and the police officers because they think they can speak down to them, which the kids are not going to put up with.

“So, you have this confrontation all the time.

“The police need to understand that you need the community’s consent to police you.

“If they understood that and had a proper rapport with young people, I don’t think we’d have the problems that we do have with young people and the police.”

Young people are still being “victimised” by the police, she said.

The peer also hit back at comments made by former Met detective Bill Mellish in a BBC documentary, "The Murder That Changed Britain", when he accused her of not smiling as a “gimmick”.

She said: “At the end of the day, what did I have to smile about when my son was murdered and you were being idiots ... What did I have to smile about?

“Every time I hear when they speak, it was like during the court case. One officer said that he wasn’t even offered a cup of tea when he came to my house. Get real.

“So, when you hear those little bit of things, you just think what are we supposed to be doing? Are we supposed to be having a party because my son has been murdered? ‘Come in and have a drink, let me share things with you’.

“It’s like we have no feelings. We, from the black community, things like this should happen to us because you’ve got no feelings whatsoever and we can do what we want, we can say what we like to you and that’s it.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in