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Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 13:49 GMT


Race crime officer for Lawrence beat

Police will be targeting specific crime hotspots

A specialist intelligence officer is to be appointed to target race crime in the area where black teenager Stephen Lawrence was murdered.

In a £1m project launched by the Home Office on Thursday, a specialist Metropolitan Police officer will collect intelligence and target racist criminals in four London boroughs.

[ image: Stephen Lawrence was killed at a bus stop in Eltham]
Stephen Lawrence was killed at a bus stop in Eltham
Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in 1993 at a bus stop in Eltham in the south east London borough of Greenwich - one of the areas to be covered by the scheme.

Project co-ordinator Chief Inspector Alan West said: "Stephen Lawrence has provided a catalyst, but not the sole catalyst, for activity against racist crime. Race crime is very much on our agenda."

The London initiative is one of 11 schemes in a £5m project to target offenders in the UK's crime hotspots.

The money will be spent over the next three years, starting from April.

Another 10 schemes will be run later in the year.

Police forces had to apply for grants from December last year - before the publication of the Macpherson report which criticised the Metropolitan force over its handling of the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.

Home Office minister Paul Boateng said on Thursday: "This first investment of £5m will give targeted support to some of the most innovative and dedicated police work around the country."

[ image: Paul Boateng launched the crime scheme]
Paul Boateng launched the crime scheme
The announcement came at the same time as a study by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary found that intelligence and targeting known offenders was the key to keeping the peace.

Her Majesty's Inspector Keith Povey said: "The silent majority of law abiding citizens in England and Wales believes that policing disorder such as pub brawls and nuisance gangs on the streets is central to the police's function.

"This report shows that unchallenged incidents of anti-social behaviour and low level disorder can often lead to more serious crime.

"Anti-social behaviour is often the first indicator of the potential for escalation towards more serious, large-scale disorder."

The study recommended that each force appointed a chief officer as "director of intelligence".

The government has awarded grants to:

  • Greater Manchester Police: £445,000 to target vehicle crime and burglary in Stockport.
  • Humberside Police: £406,000 for a round-the-clock mobile police office to target anti-social behaviour in Hull.
  • Kent Police: £450,000 for Project Radium designed to target the handlers of stolen goods.
  • Metropolitan Police: £542,000 for a project to tackle youth and car crime in the London boroughs of Southwark, Camden and Islington.
  • Metropolitan Police: £760,000 towards a project to tackle the supply and use of crack cocaine in Dalston, Hackney, east London.
  • Northumbria Police: £40,000 to combat travelling burglars who steal farm equipment at small towns and remote villages.
  • South Wales Police: £500,000 for a scheme focusing on cutting crime and disorder by youngsters in Cardiff, including a programme of support for every young person in care.
  • South Wales Police: £498,000 towards a new strategy to reduce the fear of violent crime in the community, including a counselling service for violent offenders.
  • West Yorkshire Police: £138,000 for a crackdown on car crime which represents 23% of all recorded crime in Calderdale.
  • Staffordshire Police: £412,000 towards a modern technology project to target persistent drug offenders.

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