UK & World News
Counter-Terror Cop Moved After Lawrence Report
Police counter-terrorism Commander Richard Walton has been temporarily removed from his post following after a report into the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.
The Ellison report revealed an undercover officer, known only as N81, had been planted among supporters of the Lawrence family at the time of the Macpherson inquiry into racism in the Metropolitan Police.
In 1988, Mr Walton, who was then an acting detective inspector working on Scotland Yard's Lawrence review team, responsible for making submissions to the judicial inquiry, met N81, the report found.
The "spy in the camp" fed back information about the Lawrence family to the upper levels of the Metropolitan Police, the report by the barrister Mark Ellison QC concluded.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the Ellison report has made "a fairly serious allegation" against Mr Walton "and I stress it is an allegation".
"He is in a very sensitive post, it's vital that we maintain trust and confidence, so we thought it was wise both for him and for public confidence that he work in a different role and allow him to defend himself," he said.
"I think we all need to be careful not to leap to judgment."
He added that he would appoint an independent investigator to search Scotland Yard archives to find any available evidence for the public inquiry the Home Secretary has called into undercover policing.
Commander Walton will now be moved from SO15 to a non-operational role, Scotland Yard said.
Commander Walton said: "I welcome any scrutiny of my role in these events over more than 16 years ago, including in the forthcoming public inquiry."
Earlier, former Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon has said he did not know about the undercover officer.
Lord Condon said that he had neither authorised nor encouraged an officer to be used to get information about the parents of the murdered London teenager.
In a statement, Lord Condon, who was commissioner of the force at the time of Mr Lawrence's murder in 1993, added that he did not even know it had been done.
"I confirm and restate the comments I made in the House of Lords last month. That at no stage did I ever authorise, or encourage, or know about any action by any undercover officer in relation to Mr and Mrs Lawrence or their friends or supporters or the Macpherson Inquiry hearings," he said.
"Had I known I would have stopped this action immediately as inappropriate."
The publication of the report triggered a full public inquiry into the actions of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a now-defunct wing of special branch, amid fears some convictions may be unsafe as a result of their unorthodox work.
The Macpherson Report, which was published in 1998, concluded the police investigation into the murder of the 18-year-old at a bus stop in south London was hampered by institutionalised racism within the Met.
Speaking during a visit to Bedford on Friday, David Cameron said the revelations in the report had been "shocking" and said he agreed with the Home Secretary that there should be a full independent inquiry.
He said: "It should not have taken this long and the Lawrence family have suffered far too much.
"But this will get to the truth and will help us to make sure that we have the very best in terms of British policing which is what this country deserves."
David Norris and Gary Dobson were finally convicted of and jailed for Mr Lawrence's murder in 2012.
The teenager's mother, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, described the report as the "final nail in the coffin".
She said: "You can't trust them. Still to this day. Trust and confidence in the Met is going to go right down.
"People look at the Met Police as a good example of what everyone else should be doing across the world. Once this goes out now ... they can't be trusted."
Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) chair Dame Anne Owers said she had apologised to the Lawrences for the police watchdog's part in prolonging the "family's search for the truth".
She said the report made it clear the 2006 IPCC investigation was "wrong" to conclude there was no evidence to suggest Scotland Yard withheld information in relation to corruption.
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