‘No further evidence’ of wrongdoing in Stephen Lawrence case, IPCC says

By Phoebe Cooke

There is "no information or evidence to support" allegations there was racially motivated police misconduct in the investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the police watchdog has found.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was investigating allegations by undercover police officer Peter Francis that the Metropolitan Police Service targeted him to 'smear' the Stephen Lawrence Campaign.

Francis claimed he was deliberately tasked with gathering information about Duwayne Brooks to 'smear' him and that when he raised this in the Macpherson case in 1999, senior officers instructed him not do so.

"While the allegations are serious, and indicate potential grave misconduct, there is as yet no information or evidence to support them and the fact that the maker of the allegations is unwilling to talk to anyone in a position to investigate them means that their credibility cannot properly be assessed at this stage," IPCC chair Deborah Glass said.

It took almost 20 years for the racially-motivated murder of the British 19-year-old in 1993 to be solved, with Gary Dobson and David Norris finally being found guilty of the crime in January 2012.

Mark Ellison QC, the barrister who successfully prosecuted Dobson and Norris, was tasked with examining allegations of deliberate incompetence on the part of officers involved in the original investigation into the murder, and finding out whether material had been withheld from the Machpherson Inquiry.

However, the findings today from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire forces, and the West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner all concluded that, as of yet, there was inadequate evidence to suggest wrongdoing.

Glass concluded that if anything further did come to light, further investigations would be ongoing.

"In the circumstances I have determined that the allegations which have been referred do not, at this stage, amount to an indication of recordable conduct," she added.

"However, I have notified the MPS that if any recordable conduct comes to light in the course of either of the two current inquiries, this must be immediately referred to the IPCC for further consideration."