BIG ISSUE NATIONAL VENDOR WEEK
LEARN MORE
Social Justice

Met police yet to reckon with institutional racism, says Stuart Lawrence

As a new government report says institutional racism doesn’t exist in the UK, Stuart Lawrence warns the Met are yet to fully learn from his brother Stephen’s death.

Stuart Lawrence

Photo courtesy of Stuart Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence’s brother Stuart Lawrence has warned that the Metropolitan Police has not fully reckoned with institutional racism, 22 years after the Macpherson Report.

Stephen was murdered in a racially-motivated attack in 1993. The inquiry into the killing saw Sir William Macpherson report that the Metropolitan Police was ‘institutionally racist’.

“Sir Paul Condon [former Metropolitan Police Commissioner] never accepted that the Met police was institutionally racist,” said Lawrence.

“Condon didn’t own up to it. So, when Cressida Dick comes out and says, ‘We are no longer institutionally racist’, I start scratching my head.

“When did you say that you were institutionally racist? When was that point, so that we could draw the line in the sand and say, that’s where it was and now we’re moving forward from this point? That’s what needed to happen. It hasn’t happened yet.”

Lockdowns have taken income away from hundreds of Big Issue sellers. Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription. 

Lawrence’s warning comes as a major government report insists that institutional racism doesn’t exist in the UK.

The race report was commissioned in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and was published on March 31.

It said the UK has become a “more open society” and that issues around race and racism were “becoming less important”.

Their research concluded that children from all communities perform just as well as white pupils in school.

Speaking to The Big Issue before the report was released, Lawrence – a teacher himself – said education remains an issue.

He emphasised that what pupils are taught is as important as how well they do in exams.

Lawrence says that he thinks what his son learns in school about history is too narrow, and doesn’t have enough relevance to his community.

“He’s just been learning about Henry VIII and his lovely wives. And I question myself, why does he need to know that stuff?” he said.

“I remember learning about Sir Francis Drake in the Spanish Armada. No one said to me about the cotton, or the tobacco trade, or the sugar trade, and what the consequences of all those things were. That was quite happily pushed to one side.”

Father and son are reading history books such as David Olusoga’s Black and British: A Forgotten History to plug the gaps.

“It was great to be able to, to start a conversation with him about these sorts of things,” Lawrence added.

Read more from Stuart Lawrence in next week’s Big Issue, out from April 5.

National Vendor Week 2024

A celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Every damning detail from ex-border inspector's reports the Home Office didn't want you to see
David Neal's reports are damning for the Home Office
Immigration

Every damning detail from ex-border inspector's reports the Home Office didn't want you to see

Rwanda asylum plan could cost taxpayer more than £500m. Here's how that could be much better spent
Rishi Sunak and James Cleverly have been trying to get the Rwanda scheme off the ground
A modest proposal

Rwanda asylum plan could cost taxpayer more than £500m. Here's how that could be much better spent

Sarah Everard inquiry: Cops accused of violence against women must be suspended, government told
sarah everard vigil
Social justice

Sarah Everard inquiry: Cops accused of violence against women must be suspended, government told

50,000 asylum seekers trapped in 'never-ending limbo' by Home Office, think tank says
Immigration

50,000 asylum seekers trapped in 'never-ending limbo' by Home Office, think tank says

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know