Ex-police chief to face probe over Lawrence inquiry

Lord Stevens is to be investigated in connection with the inquiry into handling of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Picture: PA
Lord Stevens is to be investigated in connection with the inquiry into handling of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Picture: PA
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Former Metropolitan Police commissioner John Stevens is to be investigated over his evidence to the official inquiry into Scotland Yard’s handling of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it related to what he told the 1998 Macpherson Inquiry, which found evidence of “institutional racism” within the force.

Stephen, 18, who hoped to become an architect, was stabbed to death by a group of up to six white youths in an unprovoked racist attack as he waited with a friend at a bus stop in south-east London on 22 April, 1993.

A second review last year by Mark Ellison QC found that corruption allegations about a Metropolitan Police detective who worked on the original investigation into Stephen’s killing should have been revealed to the public inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson.

Imran Khan, the solicitor for Stephen’s mother, Baroness Lawrence, said she welcomed the IPCC decision, adding: “One of the issues that we wanted to raise at that [Macpherson] inquiry was the issue of [police] 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.”

Bringing two of Stephen’s killers – Gary Dobson and David Norris – to justice took more than 18 years. The pair were jailed for life in January 2012 for their role in the group attack.

Mr Ellison’s major review of the case found evidence to suspect one of the detectives on the original murder investigation had acted corruptly. It found there was high-level of suspicion that former Detective Sergeant John Davidson was corrupt both before and after he worked on the Lawrence investigation.

The Ellison report said that in late July 1998, Scotland Yard’s Anti-Corruption Command held a debriefing with former Detective Constable Neil Putnam, in which he made claims against Mr Davidson.

The barrister said both the intelligence picture suggesting Mr Davidson was a corrupt officer and the content of Mr Putnam’s debriefing should have been revealed to the Macpherson Inquiry.

Scotland Yard said it referred the matter to the IPCC last November after a complaint was made by Stephen’s father, Neville, following the Ellison review.