Has policing in Britain lost its way? What is its purpose? Does it have any integrity? Judging by the latest revelations in the 21-year old saga over the killing of Stephen Lawrence, the Metropolitan Police Service is marred not only by incompetence and racism, but also corruption. Worse still, after more than two decades, persistent questions remain unanswered by cover-ups and the reluctance of such vital institutions to admit so many wrongdoings. It was no wonder that even Home Secretary, Theresa May, was forced to declare the police were “damaged.”
It took six years before a landmark inquiry declared in 1999 that the Met was “institutionally racist”. But the Lawrence family long claimed much more was to come out. Yet even the new independent review stops short on the issue of corruption, though is more forthright on the murky subject of undercover officer and use of spies. It has allowed May to again put getting to the truth onto yet another backburner by calling for another independent inquiry.
How can anyone have trust and confidence in the police and their investigations when their own behaviour is insular and has a tendency to cover up their own misconduct crimes. Reforming the police is well overdue and should include not only its structure, and particularly the ragbag array of functions of the Met, but the unaccountable culture of what policing has become. In the meantime a denial of justice has become routine.