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Forces mark the first Stephen Lawrence Day.

Lady Doreen Lawrence: 'We must teach tolerance and inclusion from an early age'

Lady Doreen Lawrence: 'We must teach tolerance and inclusion from an early age'

Date - 23rd April 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle
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Officers were encouraged to dedicate “five minutes of their day” to remember Stephen Lawrence and reflect on his tragic death as forces were told progress was still needed to change the face of policing .

The first annual Stephen Lawrence Day, celebrating the life and legacy of the murdered teenager and to be marked every year, was staged yesterday for the first time following an announcement in 2018 by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Stephen, 18, was stabbed at a bus stop in south-east London on April 22, 1993 by a white gang.

Sir William Macpherson’s report, which brought to light the “institutional racism” that existed in the police service and went on to have such a fundamental impact on policing, saw the advent of Independent Police Complaints Commission – the forerunner of the IOPC.

But Independent Office for Police Conduct director general Michael Lockwood spoke about more being done, in spite of the achievements to date.

He said. "Our mission as the IOPC, and so our part in Stephen’s legacy, is to improve public confidence in policing by ensuring the police are accountable for their actions and that lessons are learnt.

"From me, it is an honour to be part of an organisation with this vital role as we remember Stephen, his life and legacy."

Avon and Somerset Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cullen said: “I have seen change over the last 20 years. Because of Stephen we engage with local communities via different channels including independent advisory groups, police powers scrutiny groups and hate crime review panels.

“But in terms of building trust and confidence we recognise we can do so much more. That is why Stephen’s legacy should and will continue well beyond my service.”

Because the Stephen, the Black Police Association was officially recognised as an integral part of the Avon and Somerset force in 2002 following the recommendations of the Macpherson report.

BPA chairman Aqil Farooq added: “Stephen Lawrence died as a result of police organisational failures.

“Police forces had previously relied upon officers with no understanding of race or culture to police our racially diverse communities. This was a harrowing confirmation that things needed to change.

“We need to keep Stephen’s name alive among those who are too young to remember him, but will be old enough to one day lead by the changes he has made possible.”

Sussex ACC Nick May said the force had asked all officers and staff to take five minutes during Easter Monday to reflect on Stephen's life and tragic death in 1993.

"Policing and British society has come a long way and has further to go," he noted.

Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said: "No one deserves to be targeted because of who they are, including their race, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or disability and it will not be tolerated.

"The racially provoked murder of Stephen Lawrence resonated with all police forces and spearheaded a national campaign to improve training and the investigation of all hate crime.”

The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust said the youngster’s legacy “continues to inspire”.

The Met Police, which staged a number of events using the cadets, said it focused attention on the day by aiming to help young people “live their best life” – acting as a “catalyst for significant, positive changes to the way we police today”.

Commander Mark McEwan said: “This is a day to empower young people to be aspirational and ambitious.”

Stephen’s mother, Lady Doreen Lawrence, told the Guardian: “If we are to encourage future generations to build a better society, free from discrimination, I believe that we must teach tolerance and inclusion from an early age.

“Education is a powerful way of inspiring young people, and I would like to see British schools put the values of respect and fairness at the heart of the curriculum.”

Duwayne Brooks, Stephen’s friend who was with him on the day he was killed and survived the attack, said that 26 years on justice had not served, adding. “None of us have had justice.

“All those involved in the murderous attack on Steve have not been convicted and everyone knows who they are, but the justice system has not worked.”

Mrs May said: “Stephen’s murder was a watershed moment for our country. It was a moment that demanded we wake up to the reality of the racism that still exists in our society and the obstacles that far too many young people live with every single day of their lives.”

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Hm. As possibly well-meaning as this is, millions of war dead only get two minutes.

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Hipocray at the highest level. I would imagine that the relatives and ex colleagues of Keith Blakelock will be very impressed. How many Police Officer's have paid the ultimate sacrifice to be remembered, How? They talk about justice, What about Yvonne Fletcher?

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I believe it when I see it, I suspect I will wait a long time.

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Just to say, @Zulu 22 that I don't believe that Yvonne Fletcher was the victim of what was deemed a racist murder in the same way as Stephen Lawrence, However, you are very much closer to the truth with PC Keith Blakelock who might well have been. It was of course the Broadwater Farm riots where one Bernie Grant declared we 'gave the police a bloody good hiding' (or of that nature, I forget the verbatim quote) after PC Blakelock had been hacked to death by rioters; the riot having its roots of a racist nature.

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