Market Research Discovers Londoners' Trust in the Metropolitan Police Damaged

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5th July 2013 12:06 - Central Government

A BBC London survey shows that two in five Londoners are less likely to trust the Metropolitan Police (The Met) following claims that undercover officers spied on the family of Stephen Lawrence – who was murdered in a racist attack in 1993. In the ComRes telephone poll of 1,000 Londoners, a quarter believed The Met to be institutionally racist, including over a third (38%) of black and minority ethnic respondents.

Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told Vanessa Feltz on BBC London 94.9:

"I was shocked by the claims so I have no doubt the rest of London was shocked...I understand why people very shortly after those revelations reacted in that way."

Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer, claims that he was ordered to infiltrate the Stephen Lawrence campaign in 1993, and that it was a hunt for "disinformation" which would be used against those criticising the police.

Statistics also show that a quarter (24%) of black Londoners and over a tenth (15%) of all BME respondents felt that the Met is untrustworthy - compared with fewer than 1 in 10 (9%) white Londoners.

Current  figures show that 3,000 police officers, still only one in ten (10%), are from the BME background compared to as few as 300 back in 1993.

Stephen Lawrence was 18 when he was stabbed to death by a gang of white youths as he waited at a bus stop in south-east London.  Eighteen years passed before Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted of this racist murder

Sir Bernard said he was "shocked" by Mr Francis's claims and acknowledged it was "profoundly damaging" to public confidence.

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