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Racism is ‘thriving’ in the Met says Stephen Lawrence lawyer

PICTURED: Imran Khan and Doreen Lawrence

THE LAWYER who represented Stephen Lawrence’s parents has said that “institutional racism” is “thriving” within the Metropolitan Police.

Imran Khan, who was the lawyer for Lawrence’s parents, Doreen and Neville, when they launched the private prosecution to seek convictions for their son’s murder, made the comments in a new documentary.

Speaking about the police’s conduct at a screening of the three-part BBC documentary, Stephen: The Murder that Changed a Nation, which he took part in, Khan said: “I think the conclusion I've come to is we've had a number of police officers who I assumed had moved forward with us. If they had blinkers on they realised what institutionalised racism was.

"We had a number of police officers who I had assumed had moved forward with us, but having viewed the three programmes, I feel betrayed by those officers. I feel now that the sense of progress that I thought had been made with police officers understanding racism, it goes back to simply lip service.”

Theresa May also features in the documentary and says that major changes have been made in terms of policing. But Khan feels the progress has been too slow.

He added: "I think it's now hidden far better than it was but it exists and it is thriving. I think there is a lot more we need to do. Even though Theresa May says we've made progress I think that progress has been increasingly slow. It's not been as fast as I thought it was."

Lawrence was 18 years old when he was murdered at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, by a gang of white youths in a racially motivated attack.

Multiple failures by the police meant that those responsible for his killing were initially allowed to walk free. The Macpherson report, an investigation into how the Met dealt with the case, deemed Scotland Yard “institutionally racist”.

In an attempt to seek justice, Lawrence’s parents launched a private murder prosecution. The private prosecution did not secure any convictions.

After the government dropped the double jeopardy principle which prohibited suspects from being tried twice for the same crime and new forensic evidence came to light, Gary Dobson and David Norris faced trial for Stephen Lawrence’s murder. They were both found guilty and received life sentences.

The first episode of Stephen: The Murder that Changed a Nation airs on BBC1 on Tuesday April 17 at 9pm.

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