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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 July 2006, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Police make pledge over Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence

Claims of corruption against a former police officer during the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry will be examined, the Met Police has said.

Deputy commissioner Paul Stephenson said his determination to pursue corrupt officers was "undimmed".

A BBC documentary accused John Davidson of taking bribes from the father of a suspect in the 1993 killing of the black teen. The ex-officer denies this.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission may investigate the claims.

Mr Stephenson said cases of alleged corruption were the "most difficult" and "most deeply unpleasant" investigations, adding that he would work with the IPCC.

The public's confidence is waning
Keith Jarrett
National Black Police Association

"We will continue dialogue with the IPCC as to what is the appropriate way forward into the investigations into these allegations surrounding corruption," he said.

"Any suggestion that the MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] were not determined to pursue officers who have been identified as being corrupt is just simply not supported by the facts."

Mr Stephenson was speaking at a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Association, alongside commissioner Sir Ian Blair.

Sir Ian promised a "vigorous and appropriate" response to the allegations made in the documentary, The Boys Who Killed Stephen Lawrence.

But he insisted that the force had "entirely revamped" its approach to murder inquiries and had "virtually extirpated network corruption within its ranks".

Eighteen-year-old Stephen was stabbed to death by a gang of white youths at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London.

'Encouraging' response

Following Wednesday's programme, a police incident room was set up to field calls from the public.

On Thursday morning about 50 people made calls, some of which were described by Scotland Yard as "encouraging".

The Lawrence family have welcomed the prospect of a fresh inquiry and have asked the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to look into the claims.

Neville Lawrence, father of Stephen, said: "We've always thought that there was something to do with corruption."

Keith Jarrett, president of the National Black Police Association, also called for the IPCC to become involved, saying there should be "no more lies".

"What we're demanding is that all evidence be given to the IPCC and this is investigated properly," he said.

"The public's confidence is waning. To say it's at rock bottom is perhaps an understatement."

Knife obsession

The original Metropolitan Police investigation which followed Stephen's death led to the Macpherson Inquiry - which accused the force of "institutional racism".

Five men - Neil Acourt, his brother Jamie, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight - had been arrested after the initial investigation but were never convicted.

A second police investigation revealed them to be a gang of racists with an obsession with knives.

Wednesday's BBC documentary accused Mr Davidson of taking money from Clifford Norris, father of suspect David.

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who was given the task of ridding the force of corruption, said he thought Mr Davidson was corrupt.




SEE ALSO
Lawrence police 'missed chance'
24 Jul 06 |  London
The Lawrence inquiry
25 Mar 99 |  Stephen Lawrence

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