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Govt response to Stephen Lawrence ‘smear’ allegations: what you need to know

24 June 2013

5:44 PM

24 June 2013

5:44 PM

David Cameron was quick to condemn the alleged attempt by police to ‘smear’ the family of Stephen Lawrence this morning, while Home Secretary Theresa May was quick to tell Parliament of the government’s plans to ensure that these claims are properly investigated. You can listen to May’s statement here, and read it in full here.

Here are the key points on the government’s response, and how well it has been received.

1. Two existing inquiries will have extended remits to examine the allegations. They are:

– Mark Ellison QC’s investigation into deliberate incompetence and corruption of officers involved in the original murder investigation.
– Mick Creedon, chief constable of Derbyshire Constabulary’s investigation into improper practice and misconduct in the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad, which the undercover officer in question worked for. This has taken over from Operation Herne.

2. The Met has referred details of the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

3. There will be new legislation governing undercover policing. This will mean the Office of Surveillance Commissioners must grant permission to a force to renew an undercover officer’s deployment for more than 12 months. And the officer using a false identity will need permission too.

4. On Thursday, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary will publish a report on how well the police are meeting recommendations on the deployment of undercover police officers. This follows HMIC’s investigation last year into how forces deploy undercover officers.

5. But Stephen Lawrence’s family are unhappy with this. Neville Lawrence said this afternoon that he found May’s announcement that she was extending the inquiries ‘completely unsatisfactory’. He said ‘I am convinced that nothing short of a judge-led public inquiry will suffice and I have no confidence that the measures announced today will get to the bottom of this matter’. Meanwhile Yvette Cooper said there should be a specific inquiry into the revelations.

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