The murder of Stephen Lawrence and its investigation had a profound impact on the police service and transformed how we serve our communities.
ACPO lead for equality, diversity and human rights, Chief Constable Stephen Otter, said:
“The murder of Stephen Lawrence and its investigation had a profound impact on the police service and transformed how we serve our communities. The way we investigate homicides and support murder victims’ families has improved, as well as a renewed focus being placed on the importance of neighbourhood policing so that we have the trust and confidence of all the communities we serve.
“The MacPherson report brought an understanding across the police and criminal justice system that crimes like the murder of Stephen Lawrence – motivated purely by hatred – are different. They cause a great deal of fear among victims and communities and in the years since the report, better support for victims and stronger penalties for perpetrators has resulted in increasing levels of confidence in the police service to tackle and successfully prosecute these kinds of crimes. This work has now extended beyond race, to those crimes perpetrated because of a person’s religion, sexuality, disability or because they are perceived to be transgender.
“Within the service, there was an important recognition that we need a workforce that reflects the makeup of our communities. While we recognise there is still more to be done, in 2009 the rate of officer recruitment from black and minority ethnic communities was 7.2%, which reflects the proportion that black and minority ethnic people make up in society.
“Much has changed in the police service over the last ten years and while there is still some way to go, the service has shown that it is willing to listen and learn from past events. Where prejudice occurs, there is a firm desire throughout policing, especially within the leadership, to challenge and tackle it robustly.”