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Stuart Lawrence: 'One sided' race report entrenches institutional racism

3 April 2021, 13:58 | Updated: 3 April 2021, 17:57

By Seán Hickey

Stephen Lawrence's brother believes the UK cannot begin to address racism in society until Government accepts the scale of the problem.

Matt Frei was joined by Stuart Lawrence, author of "Silence is not an option" and brother of murdered Stephen Lawrence to dissect the findings of the UK's race report.

Matt reminded Mr Lawrence that just days after the report found that the UK was not institutionally racist, a Met officer was found to be a member of a neo-Nazi group.

"If people like that can get into the police force which is supposed to protect all of us, then there must be something wrong," Matt argued, seeking Mr Lawrence's thoughts.

The author told Matt that it was "never conceded that the Met was institutionally racist" following the findings of the McPherson report in the aftermath of his brother's death.

Read More: David Lammy's stirring speech in response to UK's race report

Read More: Racism is 'diminishing', co-author of UK race report tells LBC

Despite that, he pointed out that "Cressida Dick then said the Met was 'no longer' institutionally racist" some time ago, which contradicted her predecessor.

On top of that, "we've gone even further now and said there definitely was never a problem," he said. Mr Lawrence believed that the discourse was too contradictory to be truthful.

Mr Lawrence then brought the debate closer to home, citing his brother's experience of the Met in his final moments.

"If there was no institutional racism, why was that first aid kit never taken out of the back of the police car?"

Read More: 'Our experiences are not a myth': John Amaechi's rousing reaction to UK's race report

He stressed the importance of acknowledging issues of racism in British institutions: "If someone doesn't admit that there is a problem, then there is nothing you can do about it."

Matt quizzed Mr Lawrence, asking if the Met is "still burying its head in the sand" on issues of institutional racism.

He admitted that "there is a few bad apples" but wouldn't go as far to state that the organisation had ignored the issues.

Mr Lawrence worried however that "the problem is so deep rooted" that people cannot accept the view of those refuting the findings of the race report, so the UK can never truly tackle institutional racism.