Doreen Lawrence says Metropolitan police are ‘rotten to the core’

<span>Photograph: Michael Melia/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Michael Melia/Alamy

The mother of the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence has said the Metropolitan police are “rotten to the core” after the publication of a damning report into the force’s culture.

Dame Louise Casey’s report, commissioned in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, condemns Scotland Yard for its institutional racism, sexism and homophobia.

Doreen Lawrence said the review’s finding that the Met was institutionally racist came as “no surprise” to her, more than 24 years after Sir William Macpherson came to the same conclusion in his report into the handling of her son’s racist murder.

She said: “It comes as no surprise to me that the report from Baroness Louise Casey has found that the Metropolitan police is riddled with deep-seated racism, sexism and homophobia. My suspicion that racism played a critical part in the failure of the Metropolitan police to properly investigate my son’s death in 1993 was borne out by the Macpherson report.

“Since then, despite repeated reassurances that the Metropolitan police had learned lessons from its failures, discrimination in every form is clearly rampant in its ranks. It is not, and has never been, a case of a few ‘bad apples’ within the Metropolitan police. It is rotten to the core.”

Discrimination is institutionalised within the Met and it needed changing from top to bottom, Lady Lawrence said.

She said any reluctance or refusal to accept that institutional racism existed within the police service would mean any attempt at change was doomed to failure.

“Since my son’s death and the recognition of institutional racism by Sir William Macpherson, the force has had almost 30 years to put its house in order,” she said. “It has not done so, either because it does not want to or it does not know how to.”

She said Casey’s report and its findings were the last chance for the Met to get it right, and if it did not it must be forced to do so.

“As it stands, the public who the police are meant to serve is being failed and the home secretary, who has ultimate responsibility for policing, has to be held accountable and take appropriate action,” she said. “I suspect a lot of people will feel, like me, that enough is enough and change is needed. And needed now.”

Stephen Lawrence, an 18-year-old aspiring architect, was stabbed to death by a gang of racists on Well Hall Road in Eltham, south-east London, on 22 April 1993. Two men were convicted of the murder in 2012 but others remain free.