Blog: Chair reflects on 25 years since Stephen Lawrence murder

23 April 2018

Calum Macleod, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales

Calum Macleod, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales

Calum Macleod, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales reflects on 25 years since Stephen Lawrence murder.

Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a gang of racist thugs in South East London twenty-five years ago – a tragic event that was to become a seminal moment in British cultural and policing history.

This weekend was one of reflection for Stephen and his family, and about the issues surrounding the whole case and the policing investigation of it.

Stephen’s murder and its ramifications were to lead to a public inquiry headed up by Sir William Macpherson. The findings made for uncomfortable reading but importantly initiated much needed change - Stephen’s murder was a catalyst for the wholesale reform of policing and beyond – its culture, structure, processes and leadership.

Today the police as an organisation is not perfect. Yes we have come a long way, but we must not be complacent to think the job is done.

Police officers have a duty to protect the communities we serve - and in order to do that we should mirror them.  Sir Robert Peel’s principle still stands - “The police are the public and the public are the police.”

I know there is a huge amount of ongoing work being done across the country to encourage as diverse a range of applicants to become police officers as possible.  And that is vital. 

We as a Federation are working hard to ensure that we reflect the diversity of our members and society as a whole - this includes increasing the number of reps from minority groups, and we will continue to do this.

Without question, equality and diversity is high on our agenda both internally and externally.  We are working to continue to foster change with our fellow police stakeholders, staff associations and representative groups on initiatives such as the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC’s) Race, Religion and Belief Working Group – testimony that the focus on diversity is as important now as it has ever been.

We must all continue to work together to be inclusive, encourage diversity and value difference. Change must be a constant to ensure a modern police service that is fit for purpose for the greater good of the communities we exist to serve.