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Doreen Lawrence says Met police still racist

POLICE CRITIC: Doreen Lawrence (PA)

BARONESS DOREEN Lawrence has said the Metropolitan Police are still racist in some sections on the 15th anniversary of the publication of the groundbreaking MacPherson Report that found the capital’s force “institutionally racist” in its handling of the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

The mother of the murdered southeast London schoolboy, who was killed in a racially motivated attack by white youths in Eltham in 1993, claimed police attitudes to black people “haven’t changed much” since the death of Stephen.

She also said society finds it “more acceptable” when a black person is killed and that there is fear among the community of officers of the law.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Lawrence said: “You make sure that you are walking in a way that your bag is closed so nobody can look to accuse you of anything. That fear is there.

“Things have changed, I presume laws have changed but I think a lot of police attitude hasn't changed much.

“You still have a great deal of stop and search on the street, you still have members of the community complaining about how police are treating them.”

When asked if she believed the Met are still institutionally racist, she replied: “In some areas, yes I do.”

On the subject of the MacPherson Report, which was published on February 22, 1999, over six years after Stephen was murdered and examined the police’s failings of its investigation into murder, Lawrence added: “At the time, when the inquiry happened and the report came out, yes it was a landmark, yes it made a difference, yes it allowed people to be more open, to talk about racism.

“I still think there are underlying things where people believe that they can still get away with racism, especially within the police.”

Senior figures within the force have previously conceded they have more to do in terms of building trust with the black community – particularly after an inquest jury decided that armed officers “lawfully killed” Mark Duggan when he was unarmed.

Deputy Met commissioner Craig Mackie said: “If you look at the work we are doing in London at the moment we know we have made real progress and there are some really good examples of where we are moving forward.”

He added that police had “got the message around stop and search” and that its use had been cut by 90 per cent.

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