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Monday, February 1, 1999 Published at 15:02 GMT


Police ready for Lawrence inquiry criticism

John Grieve: "Yes, we have got racism"

The detective now heading the investigation into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence says the Metropolitan Police are prepared to "take a beating" from the public inquiry into the case.

John Grieve: "There are also wider issues for society"
Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Grieve accepted that the report of the inquiry, headed by former judge Sir William Macpherson and due out later this month, would be difficult for the Met.

He said: "We will take our beating in the next couple of weeks as we ought to do."

But he added: "There are wider issues for society here. Somebody ought to look seriously at the spiritual sickness in our society."

[ image: Stephen Lawrence: Killed at bus stop]
Stephen Lawrence: Killed at bus stop
Mr Grieve, head of the Met's racial and violent crimes taskforce, paid tribute to the parents of Stephen, 18, who was killed at a bus stop in Eltham, south east London in 1993.

"Doreen and Neville Lawrence have done wonderful things for the country and for our communities here in London," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"It's a tribute to Doreen and Neville and what they have achieved."

Mr and Mrs Lawrence, have argued that the police's flawed handling of the investigation led to the failure to convict anyone for the crime.

'Have to move on'

And Mr Grieve conceded the Metropolitan police had serious flaws.

"Yes, we have got racism, yes we have got racists, yes, some of our policies are outright discriminatory."

[ image: Praise: Doreen and Neville Lawrence]
Praise: Doreen and Neville Lawrence
But he insisted the Met had done "an enormous amount" since the inquiry began last July.

"We have to move on. We are looking at new ways of dealing with these kinds of crime."

Mr Grieve took over as head of the Lawrence investigation last week after Detective Superintendent Albert Patrick was removed as a result of an unrelated corruption inquiry at the Flying Squad's offices in east London.

There is no suggestion that Mr Patrick was implicated in the alleged corruption being investigated at the Flying Squad offices, but it is understood he is faces disciplinary charges relating to alleged lack of supervision of officers under him.

Mr Grieve is already investigating other high-profile racist crimes, including the murder of black musician Michael Menson.

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