It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that, race relations within the police force have been extensively investigated since the Scarman Report, following the Brixton riots in 1981 (Souhami, 2012) got published. Lord Scarman questioned society by raising the issue of racism, which not only impacts the public but also occurs within organisations. Machperson’s report brought to light the existence of institutional racism.
The murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 was one of the few murders in British history that resulted to an extensive media coverage, a public investigation and a change in the law over a period of years. This coverage led to the establishment of the Stephen Lawrence Trust fund.
Aims ; Objectives
Within my dissertation, my research will discuss to what extent that the Lawrence family were let down by the police. My primary aim is to investigate the gravity to which the Lawrence family was failed and to assess whether the failure to the family stemmed from the fact that there is the existence of institutional racism within the police force. Racism within such as institution like the police force is particularly alarming, because the police directly serve society, alongside come into the contact with members of the public.
Within this analysis, I will also be examining the works of Lord Scarman and Machperson’s. Other central themes that will emerge within this dissertation alongside racism, is corruption within the Police Force alongside the failure to protect and serve the public reassurance.
Institutionalised racism is a terminology that many a times is misappropriated, to provide clarity; Grieve and French in their report (2000, p.14) explained,
“Institutional racism is about stereotyping; it is about being unwitting; it is
about ignorance; it is about failing to recognise a racist/hate crime; it is about
not listening or understanding and not being interested in listening or
understanding; it is about white pretence and black people being seen as a
Throughout my research, the effects of institutional racism are marginalised to a specific ethnic group, this has led to policing of this group. I am cautious not to link this with any other stereotypes that might easily intertwine
In the exact way W.E.B Du Bois professes at the outset of his book “The Souls of Black Folk.”; “I have stepped within the Veil, raising it so that you may view faintly its deeper recess.” (Du Bois 1996: 1), I wish to give readers a chance to understand deeper the meaning of what it means to be a black person in terms of justice in the United Kingdom.
Whilst researching this sensitive topic, I hope to enlighten readers, the depth to which police negligence, led to the detrimental impact of institutional racism on the Stephen Lawrence familiy; as in W.E.B Du Bois book ‘Souls of Black Folk’ “…is as much a journey into the unknown or half-known aspect of black life for Du Bois as it is for white Americans.”
(Young, et al. 2006: 51) My work is in the same sense a journey into the unknown or half-known aspect, the extent of a black person/family’s justice, for me, as for the reader.
This dissertation is a collection of information from numerous sources such as: reports, newspapers, journals…etc, in which will be merged, to provide a transparent analysis of the Lawrence incident.
It took 18 years for someone to be convicted for the death of Stephen Lawrence; this was 18 years the victim’s family had to wait in anguish for justice for their beloved son, 18 years they could have been grieving their son’s death rather that fighting to get justice for their son. Could racism be conjugated with corruption and the failure of the police forces to protect and serve the public reassurance have led to why Stephen Lawrence and his family could not get justice earlier?
This is a hypothesis; my dissertation plans to investigate and to uncover.