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.
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."
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: