UK

Doreen Lawrence: Met police have to 'rebuild' trust

  • 28 June 2013
  • From the section UK

The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence - who is calling for a public inquiry into claims of a police smear campaign - says police will have to "rebuild" trust after the allegations.

Doreen Lawrence said recent events had taken confidence in the police "a couple of steps back".

Her comments followed a meeting with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who is only able to offer a police inquiry, said it had been a "constructive meeting".

Mrs Lawrence's call for an inquiry comes after former police officer Peter Francis said he posed as an anti-racism campaigner after the murder and was asked to find "dirt" on the family.

Mrs Lawrence, who was accompanied in the meeting by her lawyer and Stephen's brother, Stuart, said: "It is like things have taken a couple of steps back."

She added: "I think it will take a while to trust again.

"They are going to have to find some way of how they are going to rebuild that trust, yet again."

Stephen, 18, was stabbed to death in a racist attack at a bus stop in London in April 1993.

It took more than 18 years to bring two of his killers to justice. An inquiry following the murder led the Metropolitan Police to be accused of institutional racism and found failings in how the force had investigated the crime.

'Outstanding questions'

Home Secretary Theresa May announced on Monday that the smear claims would be investigated by two existing inquiries. These are:

  • Barrister Mark Ellison QC, who is examining police corruption during the original investigation into the killing
  • Operation Herne, an investigation into undercover policing at the Met, led by the chief constable of Derbyshire Police, Mick Creedon, and partly overseen by the police watchdog

Mrs Lawrence said Sir Bernard told her the decision to run a public inquiry was not up to him.

She said: "It's up to the home secretary."

She acknowledged that, since her son's death in 1993, there had been three Met Commissioners before Sir Bernard.

She said: "Whatever it is he is trying to do, I think he will do it."

However, Mrs Lawrence said she would like to know what the commissioner in charge at the time knew of the alleged smear campaign.

Sir Bernard said he was "very pleased" to have met Mrs Lawrence.

"These are serious allegations and I understand why the Lawrence family want answers quickly," he said in a statement.

"I am determined for Operation Herne to establish the facts as quickly as possible for an operation of this size."

Sir Bernard has previously said he would support a public inquiry.

On Thursday, Doreen and Stuart Lawrence met Mrs May at the Home Office to ask the home secretary for a public inquiry.

Following the meeting, the Home Office said Mrs May would "reflect" on how to "get to the heart of all outstanding questions."

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