Lawrence family demand public inquiry into police smear claims after meeting with Home Secretary

Doreen Lawrence with her son Stuart, and lawyer Imran Khan, talks to the media outside court on June 28. Credit: Press Association

The Home Secretary's announcement today will never be enough to satisfy Stephen Lawrence's family, who feel that the two existing reviews lack credibility and clout.

Read: Lawrence family smear claims probed in two inquiries

Theresa May has said that she wants both Operation Herne (the police-led investigation into the use of undercover officers) and the Ellison Review (the review by barrister Mark Ellison into claims of police corruption in the original Stephen Lawrence investigations) to continue, and that she will not order a public inquiry at this stage.

She's assured Doreen Lawrence that if Mark Ellison calls for a public inquiry then she will order one, and also that should there be no confidence in his review she will also order a public inquiry.

Read: Doreen Lawrence 'loses trust' over smear claims

Mrs Lawrence's solicitor, Imran Khan has told ITV News that she finds this position unacceptable and that a judge-led public inquiry is needed now in order to get to the bottom of claims the family were deliberately targeted in a police undercover operation designed to discredit them and derail the campaign to get justice for her son Stephen.

He told us that with the powers of a judge-led inquiry to compel witnesses to attend and hold hearings in public neither the Ellison review nor Operation Herne have credibility and that it was highly unlikely that Doreen Lawrence would cooperate with either process.

He said that since Stephen's death there had been repeated investigations of the police by the police themselves which consistently resulted in policemen covering for each other.

Read: 'Not right' to allow police to investigate each other

He added that the family were certain that the aim of the undercover police operation revealed last month by former police spy Stephen Francis was not simply to gain intelligence on political pressure groups which coalesced around the "Justice for Stephen Lawrence" campaign, but that it was a systematic and deliberate attempt to undermine and discredit Stephen's grieving family, in order to relieve pressure on the Met.

The Ellison review was originally set up in the wake of the successful conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris in order to examine claims of corruption in the original police inquiry into Stephen Lawrence's death.

Last month Theresa May announced that its terms of reference were to be expanded to examine claims that undercover officers from the Met's Special Demonstration Squad were tasked with gathering intelligence on Stephen's family as part of a smear campaign. Its due to report within the next few months.

Operation Herne is a review of undercover policing methods sparked after allegations surfaced in 2011 that members of the same squad had used the identities of dead babies as cover stories, and had sexual relationships (and in some cases fathered children) with activists during their undercover work. Its remit was also expanded last month to examine the Lawrence claims.

Read: Lawrence's father 'betrayed' by police 'smear plot'

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