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Macpherson report lacked evidence for charging police of institutional racism in Stephen Lawrence case says a think tank

Date: (6 August 2012)    |    

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The initial failure in proper investigation of grooming gangs in the North England could have been due to the pressure of racial sensitivity says the think-tank ‘Civitas’ in a pamphlet released by it.
Police were failing to do their job when the crimes were committed by ethnic minorities because of the fear that they would be branded racist, the report claimed.
Jon Gower Davies, a former academic, linked the failure to police being branded ‘institutionally racist’ by the Macpherson report into the death of Stephen Lawrence, which he said left police ‘shackled’ by bureaucracy.
The pamphlet, which is entitled’ Mind-Forg’d Manacles Murder, Macpherson and the Police’ finds Macpherson lacked evidence for the charge of institutional racism which he says ‘lacks substance’.
In the Rochdale child sex abuse case the nine member of a gang who but one, were of Pakistani background had been found guilty of forcing vulnerable girls to have sex several times a week and passing them around, but if police had taken seriously the report of a 15 year old white girl and had acted upon it things would have been different.
A former Labour MP, Ann Cryer, said the police failed to investigate properly because they were extremely frightened of being branded racist.
Mr Davies, a former Labour councillor, described the lack of investigation into sex crimes as a case of ‘reverse’ institutional racism in which the views of victims, vulnerable white girls, were not taken seriously.
The report stated that when in February 2012, the trial of a number of Pakistani men finally came to court, it seemed that allegations of abuse by one white girl had been just ignored by the police.
The pamphlet, which is published by the Civitas think tank, concludes Macpherson failed to address genuine weaknesses in police practice at the time.
It said ‘Macpherson... not only got rid of the need to make a realistic if less flamboyant analysis of the limitations of the policing of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, but also led to an over-anxious police leadership to make a fool of itself by adopting policies which were neither operationally nor socially nor ethically sound and proper’.
In the introduction to the pamphlet, Dr David Green, director of Civitas said Macpherson’s ‘poisonous’ legacy included failures to investigate crimes by ethnic minorities including so-called ‘honour crimes’.
Following Lord Macpherson’s use of the phrase, ‘it became a central tenet of discrimination rules in Whitehall and among police and politicians’.
In 2009, on the tenth anniversary of the Macpherson report, Trevor Phillips, the head of the country’s equalities watchdog said he had abandoned the phrase.
He said the label of institutional racism became a ‘badge of shame that has hung over’ the police
Stephen Lawrence died in an unprovoked attack while waiting for a bus in Eltham, South East London. In January of this year Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted of Stephen’s murder.