Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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IPCC publishes decision on referrals connected to the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the Macpherson Inquiry

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is today publishing its decision in relation to referrals regarding allegations connected to the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the Macpherson Inquiry.

Following referrals from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire forces, and the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, the IPCC has assessed the information available, including the remit of Operation Herne, the on-going review of undercover policing led by Chief Constable Mick Creedon, and Mark Ellison QC’s review of alleged corruption during the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.

Referrals from West Yorkshire Police and the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner:

The IPCC will independently investigate the referrals concerning the commissioning by former Assistant Chief Constable Norman Bettison (as he was in 1998) of a report concerning a witness to the Macpherson Inquiry in Bradford.

IPCC Deputy Chair Deborah Glass said: “In the absence of legitimate justification, there is an indication of misuse of police information systems and unlawful processing of the witness’s (sensitive) personal data which would be a clear indication of recordable conduct concerning this tasking. The investigation, which will be overseen by IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts, should also consider whether the tasking was motivated or influenced by racial discrimination.”

Referrals from the MPS:

The IPCC has determined that while the allegations by Peter Francis referred by the MPS are serious and indicate potential grave misconduct, there is as yet no information or evidence to support them. Mr Francis has declined to talk to Chief Constable Mick Creedon’s investigation team and has not responded to a request from the IPCC to speak with him. The allegations cannot be properly assessed at this stage.

However, given their seriousness the IPCC believes the allegations should be investigated as far as practicable and it is clear from Mr Ellison’s revised terms of reference that his review will be examining these issues. Operation Herne is also looking into the specific allegations which have been referred. 

Ms Glass added: “In the circumstances I have determined that the allegations which have been referred do not, at this stage, amount to an indication of recordable conduct.  However, I have notified the MPS that if any recordable conduct comes to light in the course of either of the two current inquiries, this must be immediately referred to the IPCC for further consideration.”

Referral from Greater Manchester Police:

GMP made a referral in relation to officers being tasked to gather intelligence on groups or individuals likely to attend the Macpherson Inquiry in 1998. Following an assessment, the IPCC has seen no evidence at this stage of recordable conduct. The matter should be re-referred if any evidence does come to light.

Referrals from South Yorkshire Police:

On the face of it, there is no indication of recordable conduct as there is nothing to suggest that there was any tasking relating to the Lawrence family or those connected with the family. If any evidence of recordable conduct does emerge, the matters should be re-referred.

The IPCC has notified the relevant forces, appropriate authorities and other interested parties, including Doreen and Neville Lawrence and the witness at the centre of the West Yorkshire Police referral, of its decisions and rationale.

The IPCC’s decision in full is available here. The document is attributable to IPCC Deputy Chair Deborah Glass.

For media queries, please contact the IPCC press office on 0207 166 3134, 2951 or 3028.

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