Fifteen years ago this week Stephen Lawrence, a young black man, was stabbed to death in south east London by racist thugs. To this day no one has been prosecuted for his murder.
Stephen’s murder lifted the lid on police racism. The Macpherson report into the handling of the case swept away the idea that racist police were just a few “rotten apples”.
It found that “institutional racism” within the Metropolitan police had allowed the killers of Stephen Lawrence to escape justice.
The Macpherson report gave many people hope that things would improve.
Yet today young black men are six times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than whites. The “war on terror” has legitimised and increased racism and the “anti-terror” laws have led to more police harassment of Asian people.
New Labour says more powers should be given to the police. All the mainstream parties agree. Yet it’s clear that institutional racism in the police is alive and well – and that more police powers will mean more black and Asian people on the receiving end of that racism.