Stephen Lawrence 39;s legacy is of 39;hope39; and 39;change39; say parents

Stephen Lawrence Stephen Lawrence 's legacy and 'hope' 'change', of is say parents

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 08:00:00 +0100

The Undercover Policing Inquiry held minute's silence for the murdered black teenager, whose family's campaign for justice was spied upon


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Stephen Lawrence

The legacy of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence is one of hope and that change is possible, his parents have said.

Neville and Doreen Lawrence made the comment 28 years to the day since their son was murdered in an unprovoked attack by a gang of racists in Eltham, south-east London, and as a public inquiry into shadowy undercover policing tactics held a minute’s silence in his memory.

They said: “Despite the brutal circumstances of Stephen’s death, those left behind have campaigned to ensure that his legacy is ultimately one of hope, reminding us that change is both much needed but also possible.”

Their joint statement was read by Undercover Policing Inquiry chairman and former High Court judge Sir John Mitting, as the day’s hearing began with a minute’s silence to mark Stephen Lawrence Day in memory of the 18-year-old.

Undercover officers spied on his family’s campaign for justice.

Stephen’s parents and his friend, Duwayne Brooks, who was with him on the night he died, were all reported on by undercover police and are all classed as core participants in the public inquiry.

Incompetence, alleged corruption and racism in the police meant that it took nearly 20 years to convict two of his killers, while the remaining three have never been brought to justice.

The Lawrences remembered their son as “a bright and much-loved young man with his whole life ahead of him”.

Profound cultural shifts in attitude, racism, and changes in the law are now part of his legacy, they said.

The family said it also includes the 1998 public inquiry into the handling of his case, leading to publication of the Macpherson Report which concluded that the Metropolitan Police’s murder investigation had been “marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers”.

The Undercover Policing Inquiry was set up in 2015 to look at the activities of two shadowy police units after condemnation of undercover tactics.

A public outcry was sparked when it was revealed that women had been tricked into sexual relationships with undercover officers and that police spies had used the identities of dead children without their families’ permission.

Family justice campaigns were spied upon, and there are claims that some officers were arrested or prosecuted for crimes under fake identities, leading to alleged miscarriages of justice for their co-defendants.

The Metropolitan Police have repeated apologies for officers having sexual relationships and using the identities of dead children without their families’ consent.

In a statement released by the Met on Wednesday, Helen Ball, Assistant Commissioner for Professionalism, said the period included rioting and the start of the IRA bombing campaign in England.

She said the force’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) was operating against this “challenging” backdrop and added that “the Met acknowledges that these cases caused significant harm and distress, and for this we are sorry”.

The two units being examined are the SDS, which existed between 1968 and 2008, and the undercover part of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which existed between 1999 and 2010.

During the current batch of hearings, the deployment of 29 undercover officers will be examined, who on average were on assignment for three to five years.

To date the mammoth inquiry has cost more than £36 million, although Tory peer Lord Moylan estimated last week that this could rise to £100 million, including police costs, by the time the inquiry reports in 2023.

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Stephen Lawrence

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 08:00:00 +0100

28 years after Stephen's tragic murder, we reflect on the journey we are on to become the most inclusive police force in the country…

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Today, April 22nd, 2021, marks 28 years since Stephen Lawrence was murdered in an unprovoked, racist attack in south London. He was 18 years old.

Stephen’s senseless murder had a profound and lasting impact on society and undoubtedly changed policing forever. Whilst there’s more to be done, there has been significant change and progress at Avon and Somerset Police over the past 28 years.

Our Chief Constable Andy Marsh has set us on a journey to become the most inclusive police force in the country. There are a number of things we are doing as we work towards this ambition, and the anniversary of Stephen’s death gives us an opportunity to reflect on where we have been and where we are going when it comes to acknowledging the disproportionality faced by many people from ethnic minority backgrounds in all aspects of society, including the criminal justice system.

Challenge Accepted

This Stephen Lawrence Day, we are embracing the themes of doing good, getting creative and sharing learning – the three aims of the #ChallengeAccepted campaign which honours Stephen’s legacy.

Doing good

The Black Police Association (BPA) was officially recognised as an integral part of Avon and Somerset Constabulary in 2002 following recommendations in the Macpherson Report, which encouraged all police forces to value race and diversity within their organisation.

The BPA’s primary objective is to ensure that those from a black or minority ethnic background within the service, are treated fairly. The BPA offers reassurance and encouragement to others from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to consider the police as a career of choice.

Sergeant Aqil Farooq, Chair of the Avon and Somerset Police’s BPA said: “The principles of the findings in the Macpherson report run through the heart of our association. It’s all about equality and fairness and to understand this, we need to continue building the foundations of trust and confidence for all – both in and out of policing. Only when we have achieved this key objective will we have a true understanding of the value of shared learning, which brings about the desired good professional practice.”

Getting creative

Our proactive youth engagement work is one of the ways we are building relationships with young people, which in turn helps us to understand the issues which particularly affect them.

PC Kris Withers, Avon and Somerset Police’s Youth Strategy Officer has been working with Bristol creative college Boomsatsuma on a project run by KickOff@3 which aims to inspire young people to find creative ways to acknowledge Stephen Lawrence’s legacy.

PC Withers said: “I recently spoke to students at the college and explored Stephen’s story with them, and I hope this will lead on to some really interesting conversations around racism. Whilst I believe some of the students were aware of Stephen’s story, many, as I understand it, didn’t know how his murder and the subsequent Macpherson Report led to some huge changes in policing and society more widely.

“What’s interesting and in some ways rather sad, is that the issues raised by Stephen’s murder and the Macpherson Report are still as relevant and urgent today as they were 28 years ago.

“What I hope resonated with the students I spoke with was the way in which Stephen’s future was just wiped out in an instant. All of Stephen’s promise, ambition and hopes were stolen from him and his family – the students were able to put themselves in his shoes and feel that loss.

“The work we are doing with Boomsatsuma and other schools and colleges across Avon and Somerset helps us to build relationships with young people, so that we work alongside them in the way we tackle the issues they face when it comes to crime, being safe and protecting themselves.”

Lyndsay Davies, Project Manager at Boomsatsuma said: “For the last 6 weeks Boomsatsuma students have been exploring the Stephen Lawrence story and the issues raised by it. With conversations with Avon and Somerset Police, a look at the campaign they’re supporting to raise awareness about Stephen Lawrence Day, and discussions with the Stephen Lawrence Documentary Producer, it has been an excellent opportunity for students and staff to consider how Stephen’s story can offer learning, inspire awareness, and open important dialogues about an incredibly pertinent issue that impacts us all.”


One of our core values is that we are a learning organisation and this is especially important as we work towards our ambition of becoming the most inclusive police force in the country.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “The murder of Stephen Lawrence, the subsequent inquiry and the recommendations arising from it are a seminal and lasting moment from the time I have served in policing. Much has been done to improve policing since Stephen was murdered but of course much more remains to be done in both policing and broader society.

“Certainly our values of caring, learning, courageous and inclusive were developed by taking into account all we have experienced in the past and using this to inform the organisation we strive to be in the future. That is reinforced by our vision of ‘outstanding policing for everyone’ and the use of the word respect in our mission of ‘serve, respect and protect’.

“In Avon and Somerset, as part of the Lammy Review, we are working alongside other partners in the criminal justice system to explore, understand and address any disproportionality that people from ethnic minority backgrounds, particularly young black men and boys, may face. This includes a thorough examination of the way we use our stop and search powers.

“The findings from this review process are likely to throw up some uncomfortable data but we have to be prepared to face this and learn from it so that we can take our diverse communities with us.

“Being inclusive isn’t just a catchphrase or an attempt to be ‘woke’. We are working every day to make things fairer, more open and transparent, and to help shape the service to be more representative of the communities we serve. Whether that’s becoming the first police force in the country to achieve accreditation for the National Equality Standard, or recruiting a diverse Outreach Worker team to change and challenge our recruitment processes, we have not done enough yet and we won’t stop trying until we get there.

“Stephen’s legacy is not only a reminder of the seriousness of hate crime and racism but it is a lasting rallying call for equality, fairness and justice. The awful circumstances of Stephen’s murder have had a huge impact upon my career and I am sure will continue to do so for future generations of police officers and police staff.”

You can find more information about our inclusive culture on our website

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– April 22, 2021
Stephen Lawrence 39;s legacy is of 39;hope39; and 39;change39; say parents