Police still 'institutionally racist' 25-years after Stephen Lawrence murder, Archbishop of York suggests

Martin Evans
Stephen Lawrence was murdered 25-years ago in south London - PA

Police forces across Britain are still guilty of institutional racism 25-years after the murder of Stephen Lawrence, one of Britain's most senior church leaders has suggested.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said the recommendations made by the Macpherson Report, following the racist murder of the black teenager, needed to be revisited and lessons still needed to be learned.

Speaking on the 25th anniversary of Stephen's murder in south east London, Dr Sentamu - who was the Bishop of Stepney at the time - said the murder still had a "chilling effect" on Britain.

And he said it was time to look again at the findings of the Macpherson Report, and consider where areas of policing could be improved.

He told BBC Radio 4's Sunday programme: "I think the 72 recommendations, which were accepted by the then Home Secretary, and there was an action plan ... I'm afraid it needs to be revisited by every police service so that they learn the lessons that were very clear."

The Archbishop of York has said we should look again at the Macpherson report

When asked what needed to be done to improve attitudes which may be considered racist, he said: "I think it is a question of greater training, people need to be more vigilant and they need to realise that if you stereotype people, you end up disadvantaging them."

Stephen was set upon by a gang of white racists as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham in south east London in April 1993.

Prince Harry and his fiance Meghan Markle will attend a memorial service today (Mon) for Stephen, where they will deliver a personal message of support to the family from his father, the Prince of Wales.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will attend a memorial service marking the 25th anniversary since Stephen's murder  Credit: PA

The Prince will read the message, expected to express his sympathy and acknowledge the courage and dignity shown by the Lawrence family, at St Martin-in-the-Fields on the 25th anniversary of the teenager’s murder.

The Prince and Ms Markle will also meet Stephen’s mother, Baroness Lawrence, and his brother Stuart at the event to “celebrate his life and legacy”, including the charitable trust set up in his name.

The Prince of Wales delivered the annual Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lecture in 2000, invited because of his interest in the built environment in recognition of Stephen’s ambition to be an architect.

Three of the five suspects have not been brought to justice for the murder of Stephen Lawrence Credit: Paul Hackett/REUTERS

The police investigation into Stephen's murder was flawed with detectives failing to arrest the main suspects and gather vital evidence.

The Macpherson report later accused the Metropolitan Police of being "institutionally racist".

After a lengthy campaign for justice by Stephen's parents, Doreen and Neville Lawrence, two of the group who attacked the teenager and his friend Duwayne Brooks, were eventually convicted of the killing.

David Norris and Gary Dobson were found guilty of murder in 2012, but the other suspects Jamie Acourt, 41, from Bexley; his brother Neil Acourt, 42, who uses his mother's maiden name Stuart, and Luke Knight, 41, both from Eltham, remain at large.

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