UK & World News

  • 2 June 2014, 11:54

Stephen Lawrence: Probe Into Officer's Conduct

A top police chief is being investigated over claims he met an undercover officer who spied on Stephen Lawrence's family.

The conduct of Metropolitan Police Commander Richard Walton is the focus of the probe by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which said he had been accused of "discreditable conduct and breaches of honesty and integrity".

The police watchdog said it had launched an investigation into allegations that he obtained information about the teenager's family and their supporters "potentially undermining the inquiry (into Stephen's murder) and public confidence".

Mr Walton was temporarily removed from his post as head of the counter-terrorism command SO15 in March following 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.

Allegations of discreditable conduct have also been made against two former officers - then-detective inspector Robert Lambert and Commander Colin Black.

The pair were identified in the review as having played a part in facilitating the meeting with the undercover officer. The IPCC will also be investigating their conduct.

Mr Walton said: "I welcome the decision to investigate this matter independently and the IPCC will have my full support."

Mr Lawrence, 18, was killed by a gang of racists who stabbed him as he waited for a bus in Eltham, southeast London on April 22, 1993.

The police investigation into his death was marred by incompetence and allegations of racism, and it took 19 years to bring any of his murderers to justice.

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