An investigation into the claims by the brother of Stephen Lawrence that he has been stopped by police up to 25 times because of his skin colour will be supervised by the independent police watchdog, it was announced today.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will supervise an investigation into Stuart Lawrence's claims that officers from Scotland Yard have repeatedly targeted him as part of a sustained campaign of harassment.
The teacher, whose teenage brother was murdered in a racist attack, has consulted lawyers over the "ludicrous" police behaviour.
He said he was moved to act after he was pulled over by two officers in November while he was in his car near his home in Peckham, south London.
James Welch, legal director for human rights group Liberty, said:
Statistics suggest that Mr Lawrence's experience of repeated searches is not unusual.
The police maintain that stop and search is an important tool in their armoury. But they seem incapable of exercising the power in a non-discriminatory way.
That will leave many questioning whether they should have the power of stop and search at all.
Stuart Lawrence told the Daily Mail that the Macpherson Inquiry has made no difference to police behaviour.
A lot of recommendations were made by the Macpherson Inquiry but it seems that it hasn't made much difference.
I would like to know when things are going to change, when is there going to be a society where you are not pulled over because you are a black guy or a black person driving a particular car.
The decision to stop someone in their car should be based on a sound reason, rather than the colour of your skin.
Mr Lawrence's solicitor Imran Khan told the Daily Mail:
Previously Stuart has not complained or otherwise drawn attention to what has happened to him, but now, when the Metropolitan police seemingly trumpet how things have changed for the better, he has felt the need to take action.He has now instructed me to use the full force of the law.
In response to claims that Stuart Lawrence, whose brother Stephen was killed in a racist attack, has been stopped more than 25 times by police.
– Metropolitan Police Service
Mr Lawrence's complaint, which we received last night, is a very serious matter and it will be investigated thoroughly and speedily.
Stop and search is an important tool to combat crime and is supported by the community if it is used professionally and fairly. Officers are accountable for their actions and it is therefore essential complaints such as these are fully investigated.
The Commissioner has made it clear that he will not tolerate any form of racism in the MPS. Strong action will be taken against any individuals in the MPS if they are found to have acted in a racist manner.
Mr Lawrence has claimed he is being targeted because he is black.
Stuart Lawrence - whose brother Stephen was the victim of a racist attack in 1993 - says he was forced to complain to police after he was pulled over in November, near his home in Peckham.
The 35 year old teacher claims that when he asked officers why he'd been stopped, he was told they were "naturally suspicious" of him.
He sent a letter of complaint to the Metropolitan Police yesterday, naming officers he claims were involved in the latest incident. Mr Lawrence told the Daily Mail:
– Stuart Lawrence
I am being targeted because of the colour of my skin, I don't think it's because I am Stephen's brother.
Whenever I have been stopped, I have never subsequently been charged with anything, and nothing has ever been found to be wrong with my car.
I have never, ever, done anything wrong. I have never been in trouble with the law. I have paid my road tax and my insurance, and always tried to keep my cars in a roadworthy state.