Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who as Home Secretary ordered the Macpherson inquiry that found the Metropolitan Police service was ‘institutionally racist’ has said this is no longer the case.
The Macpherson inquiry was ordered following the murder of Stephen Lawrence at a bus-stop in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993. Five suspects were arrested but but never convicted. In 1999 Sir William MacPherson headed an inquiry which examined the Met’s investigation and famously concluded that the force was “institutionally racist”.
In an interview with the London edition of The Politics Show to mark the tenth anniversary of the Macpherson report and to be broadcast this Sunday Straw says: “…if you are asking me whether I believe the Met as a whole is still institutionally racist, the answer is no.”
He goes on to say: “If you ask me do I believe that it’s perfect as an institution and that black and Asian people, and indeed women, have the same opportunities in practice as white males, I think the answer is – probably not in some areas.”
He concedes that while it was gone from the Met as a whole “There may still be pockets of institutional racism.”
The Politics Show (London), 22nd February, 2009, 12:30pm, BBC1