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BRITAIN’S former top police officer is to be investigated over claims that he deliberately withheld evidence from the Macpherson Inquiry into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.
Former Metropolitan Police commissioner John Stevens faces an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into his disclosure to the 1998 inquiry, which damningly found evidence of “institutional racism” within the force.
In a letter to the public inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson, Mr Stevens, then deputy commissioner and responsible for overseeing anti-corruption work, stated that no officer or former officer involved in giving evidence was under investigation for corruption.
However, a second review of the case by Mark Ellison QC last year found that corruption allegations had been made against a Met detective who worked on the original investigation and that this should have been revealed to the inquiry.
Scotland Yard referred the matter to the IPCC last November following a complaint made by Mr Lawrence’s father Neville Lawrence.
Imran Khan, the solicitor for Mr Lawrence’s mother, Doreen, said she welcomed the IPCC decision.
He said: “One of the issues that we wanted to raise at that inquiry was the issue of corruption. We weren’t able to get to the bottom of it because William Macpherson said there wasn’t the foundation for us to investigate that.
“Clearly there are concerns about whether there was full and frank disclosure by the Metropolitan Police of the information that would have given rise to us investigating it further than we did at the time.”
Mr Lawrence was stabbed to death by a group of up to six white youths in an unprovoked racist attack as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, with a friend on April 22 1993. It took more than 18 years for two of his killers, Gary Dobson and David Norris, to be brought to justice. The pair were jailed for life in January 2012.
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