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3. The Lawrence Inquiry and the Macpherson Report
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the Lawrence Inquiry into Stephen’s murder, commissioned by Home Secretary Jack Straw in 1997 and led by Sir William Macpherson, and the report it produced, often known as the Macpherson Report. We focus particularly on: (i) the report’s use of the term “institutional racism” to describe the police’s conduct, and why this has been so influential in redefining the relationship between BAME communities and the state; (ii) its conclusion that the investigation into Stephen’s murder had been “marred by incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership”; (iii) some of its key recommendations regarding the investigation of racist crimes and the protection of BAME communities.
In this course, Dr Anthony Gunter (The Open University) discusses the murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence in a racist attack in London on 22 April 1993, and why the case is considered a watershed moment in the history of race relations in Britain. In the first module, we set the context by exploring issues around race and policing since 1945, and especially the notion that BAME communities are “overpoliced and underprotected”. In the second, we look at police malpractice during the investigation into Stephen’s murder and the Lawrence family’s fight for justice. The third module explores the Lawrence Inquiry, commissioned in 1997, its recommendations, and its hugely important finding that the investigation into Stephen’s murder was marred by “institutional racism”. In the fourth module, we consider the legacies of the Lawrence Inquiry, including changes to the law and police practices, before tempering this by noting some persistent problems in the policing of BAME communities.
Dr Anthony Gunter is Senior Lecturer and Programme Lead for Childhood and Youth Studies at the Open University. His research focuses on black youth subcultures and the policing of BAME communities. He is author of Race, Gangs and Youth Violence: Policy, Prevention and Policing (2017) and Growing Up Bad? Black Youth, ‘Road’ Culture and Badness in an East London Neighbourhood (2010).
Cite this Lecture
Gunter, A. (2021, October 26). The Stephen Lawrence Case - The Lawrence Inquiry and the Macpherson Report [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-stephen-lawrence-case/the-lawrence-inquiry-and-the-macpherson-report
Gunter, Anthony. "The Stephen Lawrence Case – The Lawrence Inquiry and the Macpherson Report." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Oct 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/the-stephen-lawrence-case/the-lawrence-inquiry-and-the-macpherson-report