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Last Updated: Monday, 12 May, 2003, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Summit to tackle race crime
Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence was stabbed by a white gang

Police are joining forces with other groups for a forum to tackle race-hate crimes in London, thought to be the first of its kind in Europe.

Launched at the House of Commons on Tuesday, the Race-Hate Crimes Forum brings together 30 organisations with the aim of helping victims of racial hatred and reducing crime numbers.

The Metropolitan Police Authority is behind the initiative, which comes just weeks after the anniversary of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Representatives will also come from the courts and voluntary groups.

Peter Herbert, a member of the MPA who will chair the forum, said: "The establishment of the Race Hate Crime Forum is a landmark event in the capital and the first of its kind in Europe.

"Ten years after the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the forum will help establish a uniform approach across the Criminal Justice system, statutory agencies and voluntary agencies when dealing with race hate crimes.

"It is still the case that race hate crime is one of the most evil and insidious forms of discrimination, which needs to be combated with all the resources available to Londoners."

The Macpherson Report into the killing of Stephen Lawrence found "institutional racism" in the police and recommended the Home Office, police services, local government and other agencies create a unified system for recording all racial crimes.

The London Race Hate Crimes Working Group was set up in July 2001 and the forum will co-ordinate work in helping victims and tackling crime.

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