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article imageOp-Ed: The police, spying, and Doreen Lawrence

By Alexander Baron     Jun 27, 2013 in Politics
London - Doreen Lawrence is outraged by recent revelations that the police spied on the Stephen Lawrence campaigners, but does the lady protest too much?
Earlier this week, a Channel 4 documentary revealed that from the 1990s, undercover police had worked inside far left and environmentalist groups on a scale and using tactics that most people had never dreamed of.
One of the revelations by Peter Francis, the star of this show, was that officers had tried to dig up some dirt on the Stephen Lawrence campaigners. It will be recalled that in January last year, two men were convicted of this 1993 murder, a conviction that required a controversial, and some would say dangerous change in the law to effect, the abolition of the double jeopardy provision.
Mr Francis said too in this programme that undercover police had been asked to dig up dirt on the Stephen Lawrence campaigners in order to smear them. This case continues to drag up controversies real and imagined, like the claim made recently by a BBC correspondent that :
"The Met's original failings in the Lawrence case are set out in shocking detail in the Macpherson Inquiry." - No they are not. Read the damn thing!
"The inquiry damned the Met as incapable of fulfilling its most basic duties because it was corrupted by institutional racism." - Absolute garbage. Like Doreen Lawrence, Macpherson didn't understand how the police investigate serious crimes.
"Officer after officer, backed up by unquestioned assumptions, failed the Lawrence family because they happened to be black." Again, total garbage. The police had numerous lines of inquiry. As Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a gang, they treated his death as gang-related. They considered a drug angle, and undoubtedly all sorts of other fruitless angles. Eventually they were left with the prosaic fact that he was the victim of a random attack by a group of thugs. This was of course the most obvious solution, but they would have been failing in their duty if they had not considered all angles.
"Time was wasted investigating the victim." Wisdom in hindsight is a wonderful thing; again, how were they to know Stephen Lawrence didn't know his murderers? How were they to know there was no personal motive for the crime?
"Some officers stereotyped Stephen's friend Duwayne Brooks as just another black teenager with a chip on his shoulder."
Is this the same Duwayne Brooks who said to WPC Smith when she arrived at the crime scene: “Who called you fucking cunts anyway, pigs......I only called the fucking ambulance”. Chip on his shoulder? Yeah, right.
Doreen Lawrence has said the recent revelations leave her sick to her stomach, but isn't she forgetting something?
During this exhaustive investigation and reinvestigation the Metropolitan Police used intrusive surveillance of dubious legality against the murder suspects. This video was released; we don't know how many others there were or what other surveillance there was. Why no outrage at this, Doreen?
According to Mrs Lawrence, the police smeared her family; no, they didn't, they were looking for dirt, but they didn't find any, and to their credit, they didn't manufacture any.
Doreen herself found undesirables attaching themselves to the campaign, and she got rid of them. One she didn't get rid of though was the solicitor Imran Khan, because he was standing by her side after her recent meeting with Home Secretary Theresa May.
Khan was one of the supporters of Satpal Ram, who stabbed a man to death in a drunken frenzy in a clear cut case of murder. In 1999 he had the gall to compare Ram with Stephen Lawrence:
'IF YOU defend yourself against a racist attacker, you get a life sentence like Satpal Ram. If you don't defend yourself, you end up six feet under like Stephen Lawrence.'
The lies spread by Ram supporters about this case are a marvel to behold, including the most obscene of all, that the victim was somehow responsible for his own death.
With people like this hanging around the campaign, Doreen Lawrence did well to escape being smeared.
Having said all that, something positive may come out of these latest revelations. The best is the suggestion that the High Court should approve undercover operations. Although the Stephen Lawrence campaign was precisely that, a campaign, other undercover work can involve police officers engaged in behaviour that is not simply potentially unethical but outright illegal. There have been guidelines for the use of such informants - police and criminal - since at least 1969. In Britain as elsewhere, the police have a privilege money can't buy. This is clearly wrong, a society in which all are not subject to the rule of law is if not a tyranny then on the road to one. If this incessant decades long whining by Doreen Lawrence manages to bring this about, then perhaps we should be thankful for small mercies.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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