A wide-ranging investigation into alleged police corruption during the original enquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the attack on Duwayne Brooks in April 1993 has entered a new operational phase.
The investigation, undertaken by the National Crime Agency (NCA) under the direction of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), has for the past two years gathered and analysed a vast amount of documentation, information and intelligence covering a period of nearly 25 years since Stephen’s death.
The documentation, running to several million pages of information, has been collected from a number of sources including from the original murder investigation, the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and over 100 Metropolitan Police historic counter corruption investigations. Lawyers, judges, members of the public and police officers involved in those enquiries make up around 70 individuals who have provided information to investigators.
Officers will now seek to interview serving and former police officers and staff involved in the original murder enquiry, relevant witnesses and others including some journalists who may have had an in depth knowledge of the original investigation.
IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green said: “An investigation of this scope and complexity is a meticulous process and the past two years has necessarily laid the groundwork to enable investigators to now ask those who were close to the investigation at the time, either as close observers or active participants, valuable questions. It is vital we establish whether concerns that corruption played a part in delaying justice for Stephen are justified and if so, that those involved are held to account.
NCA Senior Investigating Officer, David Cunningham said: “Currently there are over 50 National Crime Agency investigators and support staff solely dedicated to this investigation. It is comprehensive in its reach, examining all relevant documentation, information and intelligence relating to the murder of Stephen, looking at data spanning a period of almost 25 years. The task was never going to be a quick or easy one but we are determined to leave no stone unturned, and the investigation is now moving into this new phase.”
The Ellison Review, commissioned by the then Home Secretary Theresa May, was published in March 2014. One of its key purposes was to answer the question of whether there was evidence of corruption in the Metropolitan Police during the investigation into Stephen’s murder. Mark Ellison QC found that there remained some outstanding lines of enquiry which could be investigated both in relation to alleged corruption by a specific officer and possibly other officers.