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Sunday, February 21, 1999 Published at 23:49 GMT


Racism pressure on police chief

Sir Paul Condon: Refused to accept allegations

A leaked report into the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry has attacked Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon for refusing to accept racism in his force.

Special Report: Stephen Lawrence
Sir William Macpherson's inquiry into the murder of the black teenager six years ago concludes that London's police service is riven by a "pernicious and institutionalised racism", according to the Sunday Telegraph, based on a leak of the document.

Last year Sir Paul told the inquiry some of his officers were racist, but institutional racism did not exist in the force.

The BBC's Reeta Chakrabarti reports
Other police chiefs went further, admitting their forces were institutionally racist.

The report says: "There must be an unequivocal acceptance of the problems of institutionalised racism and its nature before it can be addressed, as it needs to be, in full partnership with minority ethnic communities."

And it adds: "Any chief police officer who feels unable to so respond will find it extremely difficult to work in harmony and co-operate with the community in the way that policing by consent demands."

The Lawrence family said in a statement that they would not comment on the findings until Wednesday's official release so they could "consider the report in full".

It added: "Mr and Mrs Lawrence will be immediately asking the home secretary that they and their lawyers be given access to the full report in order that they can provide a fully informed response on the day of its official publication."

Chief Superintendent Des Parkinson, National Secretary of the Police Superintendents' Association for England and Wales, said: "We don't believe that there is institutionalised racism in the Metropolitan Police force or in the police service in general.

[ image:  ]
"We can only imagine if that is what they have put in the report, and we believe they have, then they have got it wrong.

"We accept that some things that took place in the Lawrence inquiry weren't nearly as good as they should have been.

The paper says Sir Paul is also attacked over a "lack of rigour" in his reaction to an earlier internal inquiry, which gave the police investigations a clean bill of health.

The report also rejects criticisms levelled by Sir Paul at the inquiry itself as neither "appropriate or justified".

But the document is not reported to call for his resignation.

Legal changes

The BBC's Daniela Relph: "The Lawrence family are not making any comments on the leaked article"
The newspaper reveals a total of 70 recommendations "designed to usher in a fundamental transformation of Britain's race relations".

These contain recommendations on how to change the legal and criminal justice system.

The newspaper says a key proposal is to give the Court of Appeal power to allow prosecutions after an earlier acquittal when fresh and important evidence is produced.

[ image: Stephen Lawrence: Murder unsolved]
Stephen Lawrence: Murder unsolved
Three of the suspects in the Lawrence case were acquitted and cannot be tried again for the murder.

The newspaper said it was likely that such a controversial change would have to be tempered with a clause allowing just one re-trial of someone acquitted.

The papers says the report calls for a tougher Race Relations Act covering the police and possibly the armed forces and immigration service.

It says the one of the effects of such a change could be to give the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) powers to investigate the police.

Racially motivated

And it adds that many of the report's key recommendations could well be included in a government package of police reforms this year, including strengthening the Police Complaints Authority.

Other possibilities for change cited by the Sunday Telegraph are compulsory education and treatment to change the attitudes of those convicted of racist offences.

Violent crimes committed by whites against blacks or vice versa in London may also automatically be classified as racially motivated.

The newspaper reports that Home Secretary Jack Straw is preparing to launch a drive to treble ethnic minority recruitment and set specific national targets.

And it also suggests that changes to the National Curriculum are also likely to take place, to teach children about the value of cultural diversity and to prevent racism from the pre-school stage.

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Met Police - Submission to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry (Part 1)

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