The Macpherson Report
The Lawrence family campaigned for five years for an official inquiry into the investigation of Stephen's murder...
The Lawrence family campaigned for five years for an official inquiry into the investigation of Stephen's murder. It was not until 1997 that their persistence was rewarded when Home Secretary Jack Straw announced the judicial inquiry, to be led by retired High Court Judge Sir William Macpherson.
The Inquiry sat for sixty-nine days hearing evidence drawn from eighty-eight witnesses and 100,000 pages of supporting documentation. It sat in London, Manchester, Bradford, Bristol and Birmingham. As well as their in-depth analysis of the actions of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) relating to the murder case, they also considered wider issues of relevance to minority ethnic relations with the police. These included use of stop and search, the perceived lack of interest in recording and investigating racist incidents, deaths in custody, the complaints system and the lack of training to meet the needs of a multi ethnic community.
The publication of the Stephen Lawrence Report was devastating to the MPS. The panel concluded that they had demonstrated professional incompetence and had a pervasive culture of institutional racism within the force. Seventy recommendations for improvement were made, touching on the reform of police procedures and training, the reporting, investigation and prosecution of racist crimes, and the amendment of the National Curriculum to include study of diversity and tolerance.