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Wednesday, February 24, 1999 Published at 18:14 GMT


Lawrence: Quotes at a glance

Politicians, police officers and family and friends of Stephen Lawrence have been commenting on the Macpherson inquiry.

Special Report: Stephen Lawrence
Doreen Lawrence
"Black people are still dying on the streets and in the back of police vans. For me, institutional racism is ingrained and it's hard to think of how it will be eradicated from the police force."

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"We have more than earned the right to live and not have our children killed in the way Stephen was."

"This society has stood by and allowed my son's killers to make a mockery of the law."

"They [the police] treated the affair as gang war, and from that moment on their attitude can only be described as white masters during slavery."

Home Secretary Jack Straw
"I want this report to serve as a watershed in our attitudes to racism. I want it to act as a catalyst for permanent and irrevocable change, not just across our public services but across the whole of our society."

"There was only one reason for his murder. Stephen was black."

"Mr and Mrs Lawrence's campaign for the truth has been pursued by them with huge dignity, courage and determination."

Prime Minister Tony Blair
"The test of our sincerity as law makers is not how well we can express sympathy ... but the implementation of recommendations to make sure this type of thing never happens in our country again."

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Sir Paul Condon, Metropolitan Police Commissioner
"I, we in the Met, feel a sense of shame for the imcompetence of that first investigation and for how the family were let down. . .We failed. We could and we should have done better."

I believe I owe it to London, I believe I owe it to the Met, to see through those changes."

"I have never given up hope of bringing some or all of the thugs who killed Stephen to justice. . .the people who killed Stephen should be feeling uncomfortable."

Duwayne Brooks, Stephen Lawrence's friend
"When Mr Condon took up the job in 1991 he said he would eradicate racism. Today is 1999 and racism is still here and has played a big part in this case and in many others. For Jack Straw to say that Mr Condon should stay is totally wrong. I think Mr Condon should do the honourable thing and resign."

Michael Mansfield, QC
"It's been a long, hard struggle for [Neville and Doreen Lawrence] to achieve two extremely important admissions. It was only in 1997 that there was no recognition that there had been anything wrong with the way this investigation had been carried out. . . Finally, today, up against the wire, it's been admitted.

Shadow Home Secretary Sir Norman Fowler
"the persistence and courage of the family in the face of tragedy and bitter disillusionment has been outstanding. . .Our aim must be to ensure, as far as we can, that a case like this never recurs."

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Alan Beith
"This report tells a horrific story of widespread professional incompetence, bad management and ignorant racial stereotyping which together ensured that not only the perpetrators of this murder but also the perpetrators of other violent attacks escaped justice."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey
"My special prayers remain with the Lawrence family, who have conducted themselves with true Christian dignity and courage throughout this harrowing ordeal. . . Racism among those in positions of power and authority is especially offensive, as it threatens the principles of both equality and justice.

The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Tom Butler
"I meet black people from our south London churches almost every day and I know from what they tell me that the Stephen Lawrence tragedy was not an unfortunate, isolated incident. Like Doreen Lawrence, many black people today feel that at present they cannot get justice from the British legal system."

Chief Superintendent Peter Gammon of the Police Superintendents' Association
"The Association, along with the rest of the police service and the senior officers involved in the initial murder investigation six years ago, have all acknowledged that mistakes were made. However, we stand by our convictions that none of them were the result of deliberate racist attitudes or behaviour."

The Society of Black Lawyers and the Association of Black Probation Officers
"We regard Sir Paul Condon's position as untenable. This is inevitable given the scale of the criticism of the Metropolitan Police. He no longer carries the trust and confidence of the Black community necessary to undertake the task in hand."

Labour MP Bernie Grant
"The black community is giving British society a last chance."

Education Secretary David Blunkett
"This is about how we treat each other and, importantly, how we learn to respect ourselves and one another as citizens."

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