Met to seek meeting with Lawrences

Braintree and Witham Times: Baroness Lawrence has urged Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to co-operate fully with the judicial inquiry ordered by the Home Secretary Baroness Lawrence has urged Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to co-operate fully with the judicial inquiry ordered by the Home Secretary

Scotland Yard is to request a private meeting with the parents of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence to share the findings of the criminal investigation into alleged misconduct by undercover officers.

The force is writing to Doreen and Neville Lawrence in order to discuss Operation Herne, the probe into Scotland Yard's Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) - the top secret unit that was up and running for nearly 40 years.

It follows a report by barrister Mark Ellison QC, published this week, which found that officers spied on the Lawrence family, with an undercover officer passing on personal details such as comments on the separation of Stephen's parents.

Baroness Lawrence has demanded Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe take "decisive action" following the Ellison review's "devastating" revelations.

Meanwhile, Stephen's brother Stuart said he would agree to join a panel appointed to search the Met's archives for any available evidence for a public inquiry into undercover policing.

Sir Bernard said: "I want to assure Baroness Lawrence and Mr Lawrence, and the public, right now of my determination to act.

"Under my leadership, the Metropolitan Police will do all it can to redeem ourselves in their eyes. We will continue to seek to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of their son."

The Met Police chief said he "fully supports" the public inquiry into undercover policing announced by Home Secretary Theresa May.

"I undertake to ensure that the Metropolitan Police shares everything with that inquiry and other investigations," Sir Bernard added.

"The Metropolitan Police will not regain lost trust without honesty, openness and transparency.

"The amazing work of our officers and staff, day in, day out, to protect the people of London, risks being overshadowed if we do not all act with conviction and sincerity."

Aspiring architect Stephen was murdered at the age of 18 by racists in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993 and it took nearly 20 years for two of the gang of up to six killers to be brought to justice.

The Ellison review found that one of the officers on the original investigation into Stephen's death, Detective Sergeant John Davidson, may have acted corruptly.

It was claimed that Davidson had admitted having a "corrupt connection" with Clifford Norris, the gangland boss father of David Norris, who was finally convicted of Stephen's murder in 2012.

Concerns were also raised in the review about Scotland Yard's record-keeping on its own investigations into police corruption, with key evidence the subject of mass shredding in 2003.

Sir Bernard plans to appoint an "independent multi-disciplinary team" to search the force's archives for any available evidence for the public inquiry into undercover policing.

Stuart Lawrence said his inclusion on the panel appointed to search the Met's records would ensure the "job is done".

He told the BBC: "I reserve judgment until I hear who he's tried to employ to try to do this job and I wouldn't mind being part of the team myself to ensure the job is done.

"I'm a bit sceptical and reserved about apologies if that's all they are because they are just words.

"I want to see something done."

Scotland Yard said Sir Bernard would like to discuss with the Lawrence family how the panel will operate "so that it can have their trust and confidence".

In a letter seen by the BBC, Baroness Lawrence called on the Met Police Commissioner to take "the relevant and appropriate action" against individuals identified in the Ellison review.

The letter concluded: "It goes without saying that the revelations in the review have been a devastating blow to Mrs Lawrence and her family.

"Any confidence that Mrs Lawrence had in your organisation has been shattered. Nothing short of immediate and decisive action by you will begin to help build the trust needed to go forward."

Scotland Yard said Sir Bernard will reply privately to address all points raised in the letter, which he has not yet seen.

He has instructed his professional standards team to examine where action should be taken against individual officers, a Met Police spokesman said.

The Commissioner has also declared his intention to seek changes to employment laws to "help recruit a Metropolitan Police Service that looks and feels like London", he added.

The spokesman said: "His team has been working on proposals over the past year, to supplement the current recruitment campaign for 5,000 constables. We need political support to make these changes."

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