Stephen Lawrence Day - Every Sussex Police officer is taking five minutes today to reflect on tragic 1993 murder

Every Sussex Police officer has been asked to take five minutes today to remember Stephen Lawrence and reflect on his tragic death.

Monday, 22nd April 2019, 3:27 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd April 2019, 3:33 pm
Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993. Picture: Getty Images/Handout

Today marks the first annual Stephen Lawrence Day, celebrating the life and legacy of Stephen Lawrence, who was killed in a racist attack at just 18 years old.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick May said: "Sussex Police has asked all officers and staff to take five minutes during the day to reflect on Stephen's life and tragic death in 1993.

"Policing and British society has come a long way and has further to go."

Stephen Lawrence Day - to be marked every year - was announced by Prime Minister Theresa May last year to commemorate his death.

Sussex PCC: 'Heartening' to see how far Sussex Police has come

Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said: "No one deserves to be targeted because of who they are, including their race, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or disability and it will not be tolerated.

"The racially provoked murder of Stephen Lawrence resonated with all police forces and spearheaded a national campaign to improve training and the investigation of all hate crime. It is heartening at this time of reflection, to hear the recognition of how far the Force have come and welcome recommendations for further improvement.

“The rich diversity of our communities here in Sussex is one of our greatest strengths and the police have done some fantastic work both internally and externally with the public to promote diversity and inclusivity.

“The injection of 100 extra Police Community Support Officers into neighbourhood policing, made possible through the rise in this year's precept, is a welcome addition to the Force for these communities.

“I know that the Chief Constable and senior officers are committed to ensuring that all reports of this type will be taken seriously and urge anyone who has been a victim of hate crime to come forward.”

Stephen's murder brought to light 'institutional racism'

Michael Lockwood, director general of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), spoke about the changes in policing since the tragic murder, and of the progress that is still needed.

He said: "Stephen’s murder brought to light the institutional racism that existed in the police service and went on to have a fundamental impact on policing and the criminal justice system in this country.

"It was the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report, written by Sir William Macpherson, which brought about the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the forerunner of who we are today, the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

"Our mission as the IOPC, and so our part in Stephen’s legacy, is to improve public confidence in policing by ensuring the police are accountable for their actions and that lessons are learnt.

"From me, it is an honour to be part of an organisation with this vital role as we remember Stephen, his life and legacy."