Stephen Lawrence's brother slams Met for Sarah Everard vigil handling

Stephen Lawrence’s brother slams Met Police over its response to murdered Sarah Everard’s vigil and for never admitting it was institutionally racist

  • Stuart Lawrence has expressed disappointment at Met’s actions in recent weeks
  • The 44-year-old questioned whether force learnt from brother’s murder in 1993
  • The Met has come under fire after a vigil descended into chaos last month with officers pictured restraining women due to apparent breaches in Covid-19 rules

The brother of murdered Stephen Lawrence has criticised police in the wake of the controversial race report and the response to the Sarah Everard vigil.

Stuart Lawrence expressed his disappointment with the Met Police’s actions in recent weeks and said he questions whether he should continue providing consultancy work for the force.

Mr Lawrence even claimed the Met Police is still yet to learn from his brother’s racially-motivated killing in 1993.

The 44 year old, who was 16 when Stephen was stabbed to death by thugs at a bus stop, said he was shocked by the police response to the Sarah Everard vigil in Clapham.

The Met Police force faced heavy criticism after the vigil for 33-year-old Sarah Everard descended into chaos with officers pictured restraining women and activists claiming they used inappropriate force. 

In the Big Issue magazine, Mr Lawrence said: ‘I do a bit of consultancy work for the Met Police.

Stuart Lawrence (pictured), the brother of murdered Stephen Lawrence, has criticised police in the wake of the controversial race report and the response to the Sarah Everard vigil

Stuart (right) says the recent controversy surrounding the Met has left him questioning whether the force has learnt anything since the racially motivated murder of his brother (left)

‘I am trying to help them, but things keep happening that make me go, why should I? Why should I try to help?

‘I’ve been to police training headquarters and heard them being sworn in. It does say to serve and protect the public. That’s what they swear an oath to.

‘And then you see the scenes like that coming out of Clapham [at the Sarah Everard vigil], and you think, how are you serving and protecting us?’

Mr Lawrence said ‘there are good people inside the police service trying to make a difference’ but that ‘it only takes one or two to give the impression there’s problems’.

He also said the Met Police has still not accepted its problems since the death of his brother.

Mr Lawrence said: ‘When Sir William Macpherson delivered his report, Sir Paul Condon [then Commissioner of the Met Police] never accepted that the Met Police was institutionally racist.

The Met came under fire for their handling of a vigil held in memory of Sarah Everard who went missing and was later found dead. Pictured: a woman is arrested during the vigil last month

Police officers form a cordon as well-wishers turn on their phone torches and gather at a band-stand where a planned vigil was supposed to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions

‘I tell my son all the time: if you do something wrong, or make a mistake, don’t lie. Tell the truth. We can deal with it and then we can move on.

‘Condon didn’t own up to it. So, when Cressida Dick comes out and says “we are no longer institutionally racist”, I start scratching my head.

‘When did you say that you were institutionally racist? When was that point, so that we could draw the line in the sand and say, ‘that’s where it was and now we’re moving forward from this point’? That’s what needed to happen. It hasn’t happened yet.’

Mr Lawrence’s comments come in the wake of controversy surrounding the Met’s handling of a vigil for 33-year-old Sarah Everard who went missing and was later found dead last month.

The event descended into chaos with scenes unfolding showing officers restraining women at the gathering in what was described as ‘public relations disaster’.

However, a review by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary vindicated the officers’ actions as it found the event risked spreading Covid.

Hundreds of people gathered at a peaceful vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common in South London last month. Pictured: Patsy Stevenson is detained by police officers at vigil

Meanwhile, a landmark race report determined that the UK was a ‘beacon of diversity’ and found no evidence that the country is ‘institutionally racist’.

The document, published by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, said geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion all affect life chances more than racism.  

Stuart’s mother Baroness Doreen Lawrence has previously criticised the report and said the authors of the report are ‘not in touch with reality’.

Baroness Lawrence was made a peer in 2013 after campaigning for justice for her son Stephen who died in 1993 following a racially motivated attack in south-east London.

Speaking at a public event organised by De Montfort University Leicester’s Stephen Lawrence Research Centre last week, she said: ‘When I first heard about the report my first thought was it has pushed [the fight against] racism back 20 years or more.’

Baroness Lawrence continued: ‘They (the report authors) are not in touch with reality basically.

Baroness Lawrence (pictured) said the authors of the race report are ‘not in touch with reality’

‘That’s what it boils down to. When you are privileged you do not have those experiences.

‘My son was murdered because of racism and you cannot forget that. Once you start covering it up, it is giving the green light to racists.

‘You imagine what’s going to happen come tomorrow. What’s going to happen on our streets with our young people? You are giving racists the green light.’

Stephen, an 18-year-old A-level student, was murdered in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993.

However, a bungled police inquiry meant that no arrests were made for two weeks after his death.

Following a DNA breakthrough, Dobson, now 45, and Norris, now 43, were found guilty in 2012 of stabbing the teenager.

Overseen by chair Dr Tony Sewell, the findings from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities were branded a ‘whitewash’ by the Left, but welcomed by other campaigners

They had been named as suspects within 48 hours of the stabbing in April 1993. No others were ever charged. 

Ministers have been facing a backlash over the race report since its publication, with Mr Johnson’s most senior black adviser Samuel Kasumu quitting, despite No 10 insisting his departure was ‘absolutely nothing to do’ with the report. 

The race report, which was months in the making and produced by a group of 12 experts – only one of whom was white – concluded that there was no evidence of institutional racism in this country.

Overseen by chair Dr Tony Sewell, its findings were branded a ‘whitewash’ by the Left, but welcomed by other campaigners.

The report, commissioned by the Prime Minister after last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, said Britain was no longer a country where the ‘system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities’.

The report said factors such as geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion all impacted life chances more than racism, and concluded the UK was a ‘beacon’ to the world as a successful multi-ethnic nation which displayed much more tolerance than its neighbours.

But unions said the report denied the experiences of black and minority ethnic workers.  

The report’s authors were also accused of trying to put a ‘positive spin on slavery’ after they called on schools to use history lessons to ‘tell the multiple, nuanced stories of the contributions made by different groups that have made this country the one it is today’.

Yesterday Dr Sewell, who insisted that the commission simply hadn’t found evidence of institutional racism in Britain, said some communities were haunted by historic racism and there was a ‘reluctance to acknowledge that the UK had become open and fairer’.

He said the review found some evidence of bias, but often it was a perception that the wider society could not be trusted.

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