9 Apr 2015

Stephen Lawrence: Lord Stevens investigated by IPCC

Senior Home Affairs Correspondent

EXCLUSIVE: former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens is being investigated over allegations of a cover-up of police corruption in the Stephen Lawrence murder probe in the 1990s.

Lord Stevens is accused of failing to hand information over to the Macpherson public inquiry, which investigated the police’s initial failure to apprehend the black teenager’s killers.

John Stevens was Deputy Commissioner of the Met from 1998 to 2000 – while the Macpherson report was being compiled, before serving for five years as Britain’s most senior police officer.

In a letter to the Macpherson inquiry in 1998, he stated that no officer or former officer involved in giving evidence was under investigation for corruption.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has now launched an investigation into the retired police chief – following a complaint made last October by the murdered teenager’s father Neville Lawrence.

Mr Lawrence requested the IPCC look into alleged failures of senior officers, including Lord Stevens, to provide “full, frank and truthful” information to the inquiry, as well as claims that hundreds of files on past major police corruption probes were shredded.

‘Serious concerns’

In 2012 the Home Secretary Theresa May commissioned Mark Ellison QC to lead an independent review into whether there was evidence of corruption in the original Lawrence investigation, and whether evidence had been withheld from the Macpherson inquiry.

Last year the Home Secretary told Parliament that there were “serious concerns that…relevant material which would show corruption has not been revealed because it cannot be found or has been destroyed.”

When contacted by Channel 4 News, Lord Stevens quoted a letter that he had received from the reviewer Mark Ellison, saying: “No one is suggesting that you did anything that was culpable in any way.”

“Step very carefully, I’m not putting up with any more crap about this” he said.

Neville Lawrence, Stephen’s father, welcomed the IPCC’s decision to investigate, saying: “I’m hoping that they’re going to come back this time with a result that can help us to get further into the truth of what was happening during the investigation into Stephen’s death.”

On 22 April, it will be the 22nd anniversary of his son’s murder in a racist attack in Eltham, south-east London.

Mr Lawrence told Channel 4 News that he hoped to dispel the belief that his family had been troublemakers, who wanted to cause problems for the police.