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Neville Lawrence slams slow progress of inquiry into undercover policing

Luke O'Reilly
·1-min read
PA
PA

Stephen Lawrence's father Neville has derided the slow pace of progress for the public inquiry into undercover policing.

The inquiry, which commences on Monday, was announced in 2014 by then-home secretary Theresa May following revelations undercover officers spied on the Lawrence family in the wake of the notorious racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

At least three members of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) gathered information on the family’s justice campaign, an independent review by Mark Ellison QC found.

The Undercover Policing Inquiry will finally begin hearing evidence on Monday – having already cost £30 million – about undercover policing in England and Wales between 1968 and 2008.

18-year-old Stephen Lawrence was fatally stabbed by a gang of racists in Eltham, south-east London, on April 22 1993 (PA)
18-year-old Stephen Lawrence was fatally stabbed by a gang of racists in Eltham, south-east London, on April 22 1993 (PA)

The first phase of the hearings will consider the operations of the SDS between 1968 and 1972 ahead of a second phase starting in January, which will hear evidence about the SDS between 1973 and 1982.

However, in an interview with The Guardian, Stephen’s father Neville said the slow pace of the inquiry’s progression has given him cause to doubt what it will actually be able to achieve.

The inquiry was launched by then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2014 (Reuters)
The inquiry was launched by then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2014 (Reuters)

He told the paper: “Far too little has happened in the six and a half years since it was announced.

“I want a fully transparent inquiry which establishes what happened, why the Metropolitan Police thought it appropriate to send undercover police to spy on me and my family following Stephen’s death, at a time when we were grieving and campaigning to make the police take Stephen’s murder seriously.

“I want to know what part institutional racism played in that decision. And I want the Metropolitan Police to learn lessons from what they did.”

The inquiry will not deliver its final report to the Home Secretary until at least 2023.