Friday, 7 March 2014

Stephen Lawrence Met Police corruption report by Mark Ellison is truly horrifying

I have never seen the House of Commons so collectively upset as yesterday over the Met Police.
Stephen Lawrence, 18, was murdered in Eltham, south east London, in April 1993: Scotland Yard failed for 19 years to bring his killers to justice. The force’s failings prompted the Macpherson Report in 1999, which found that the Met was “institutionally racist”.
Yesterday the Houses of Parliament were told by Mark Ellison QC, in his report on the Met that the Met Police behaved in an unbelievably unacceptable manner for many years afterwards:
- Officers continued to deceive the government, police bosses, the Macpherson Inquiry and most of all the Lawrence family throughout subsequent investigations.

- Ellison found material which was not made available to the Macpherson inquiry, including evidence that suggested one officer DS Davidson was corrupt and had links to Clifford Norris, the father of David Norris, who was convicted of Stephen’s murder together with Gary Dobson in 2012.

- Ellison found that an undercover officer codenamed N81 was planted by the Met’s top secret Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and passed on information about the state of Doreen and Neville Lawrence’s marriage and other family details to senior officers.
Mr Ellison describes “reasonable grounds” to suspect that one of the detectives investigating her son’s murder had a “corrupt relationship” with the gangster father of one of the killers, and that other officers may also have been corrupt. Possible miscarrigaes of justice may have occurred as well.

The findings of the report – commissioned by Theresa May, the Home Secretary – were so disturbing that MPs struggled to maintain their composure. Jack Straw, MP, the Home Secretary at the time of the Macpherson Inquiry was visibly shocked by the "venality" of the Met Police's approach.

Theresa May has immediately announced an independent Judge led public inquiry into undercover policing and the Met's handling of the case - describing the report’s findings as “profoundly shocking”.
Baroness Lawrence, whose first response in the House of Lords yesterday was to thank Mrs May for tackling such a “difficult” issue, spoke of her difficulties over the years in convincing police officers and home secretaries that her suspicions about the Met were valid.

Once again it is right to make the point thart 99.9% of police officers are straight as a die, and that in nearly 20 years as a lawyer prosecuting and defending in criminal courts I worked with exceptional officers doing a very difficult job with great dignity, effort and restraint. But the actions of the Met Police over several years puts the public perception of the police in a wider context into question. I try to be as even handed as I can be when describing these events in parliament or elsewhere but yesterday was a shocker. People were open mouthed in horror at what had gone on.

At the end of the day a blameless young black man's life was savagely taken by thugs. To make matters worse the reality is that the police did much to stop the killers being brought to justice. I applaud the Home Secretary for grasping the nettle and shining transparent light on the past, by way of a public inquiry, so that we may have a better future. This country needs a Met Police that is not tainted by corruption.
If you want more details read here:
If you want to know the full picture and read the summary of Ellisons report that is also available online