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'No confidence in IPCC', says Doreen Lawrence

LACK OF FAITH: Doreen Lawrence criticised the IPCC stating it was not independent enough

The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has called for a “change of culture” within the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), as a Government inquiry into the police watchdog gets underway.

Doreen Lawrence told a room of MPs at a home affairs select committee on Tuesday, July 17, that she lacked faith in the commission’s ability to carry out reliable investigations.

“I have no confidence in the IPCC because of what has happened [in relation to the mishandling of Stephen’s murder investigation] over the years,” she said.

“I don’t think they are as independent as they should be; officers continue to help each other and we have no idea of their background, so this doesn’t give me confidence.”

She added: “I sometimes wonder if the IPCC have enough teeth to deal with things. This is something that needs looking into.”

Home secretary Theresa May has announced that barrister Mark Ellison QC would assess whether there was any evidence of police corruption in the initial investigation into Stephen Lawrence’s murder.

The review team will also consider whether the original MacPherson inquiry was provided with all the relevant material.

Dame Anne Owers the new chair of the commission blamed lack of resources for problems they face in implementing reforms.

“We have the ability to do it but we don’t have the resources,” she admitted.

Lawrence was asked if she felt there was a different culture within the IPCC compared with1993 when her 18-year-old son was stabbed to death by a gang of white youth, which included David Norris and Gary Dobson who were sentenced for his murder in January.

She answered: “There is a different culture, but families still feel their concerns are not being addressed as they want it. They are still complaining of experiencing difficulties and racism in the police force.

“Racism has [decreased] but we need to challenge it on every level and not let people get away with it. Until they change the culture of who is doing the investigating, I don’t think there will be any change.”

Lawrence said it was important the IPCC process was made independent and transparent.

The review aims to complete its findings by July 2013.

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