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Met slammed for dealing of race complaints, 20 years after Eltham murder of Stephen Lawrence

PUBLISHED: 11:20 17 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:20 17 July 2013

Stephen Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence

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The Met has been slammed for the way it deals with complaints alleging racism in a report released this morning (July 17), 20 years after the murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence in Eltham.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPPC) review scrutinised more than 60 referrals of incidents which occurred between April 1 and May 31 last year, analysed all Met racism complaints during 2011 and 2012 and reviewed a sample of these complaints dealt with by the police.

This followed several high profile race related incidents the IPCC announced it would conduct a review of how the force, which is responsible for policing the UK’s most ethnically diverse city, handled complaints of this kind.

Following the murder of teenager Mr Lawrence in 1993, the Met was accused of being ‘institutionally racist’ in its handling of the investigation by the Macpherson Inquiry, published in 1999.

The IPCC report said: “In general race complaints were not handled in a sufficiently robust, fair or customer-focused way.

“There needs to be a culture change in how the Met deals with such complaints.”

IPCC commissioner Jennifer Izekor added: “Race has been, and continues to be, a critical issue for the Metropolitan Police Service. So, the way that it deals with complaints about allegedly racist behaviour by police officers is crucial to public confidence in policing among London’s diverse communities.

“This report shows that, though there are some examples of good practice, in general there is an unwillingness or inability to deal with these complaints robustly and effectively. Too often, complaints are dismissed without proper investigation or resolution, complainants are not properly engaged with, and lessons are not learnt.”

Met assistant commissioner Simon Byrne said in response to the report: “The commissioner has made it clear that he is determined to reform the Met. Today’s report helps to highlight how big that task is.

“We are determined to be less defensive and accept when we are not performing as well as we should be, and we therefore welcome the report and its findings. It is powerful, showing the way we deal with complaints involving racism is letting down the public.”


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