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The Macpherson Report: Twenty Years On inquiry launched

12 December 2018

The Home Affairs Committee launches an inquiry to examine progress in the twenty years since the Macpherson report was published.

The inquiry

On 24 February 1999, the report of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry was published, following an apology the previous year by the Metropolitan Police for failures in the response to (and investigation of) Stephen's murder in 1993. Sir William Macpherson, who chaired the inquiry, made 70 recommendations for the Government, police service and other stakeholders, and accused the Metropolitan Police Service of institutional racism.

The Committee is particularly interested in how the Government and police service has performed against the following recommendations:

  • "That the Home Secretary and Police Authorities should seek to ensure that the membership of police authorities reflects so far as possible the cultural and ethnic mix of the communities which those authorities serve" [this would now apply more appropriately to Police and Crime Commissioners and their offices];
  • "That all possible steps should be taken by police services at local level in consultation with local Government and other agencies and local communities to encourage the reporting of racist incidents and crimes";
  • "That Police Services and Victim Support Services ensure that their systems provide for the pro-active use of local contacts within minority ethnic communities to assist with family liaison where appropriate";
  • "That police training and practical experience in the field of racism awareness and valuing cultural diversity should regularly be conducted at local level"; and "that it should be recognised that local minority ethnic communities should be involved in such training and experience"; and
  • “That the Home Office and Police Services should facilitate the development of initiatives to increase the number of qualified minority ethnic recruits".

Sir William Macpherson also recommended that progress be monitored against a number of performance indicators, including the number of recorded racist incidents and related detection levels; achieving equal satisfaction levels across all ethnic groups in public satisfaction surveys; the nature, extent and achievement of racism awareness training; the policy directives governing stop and search procedures and their outcomes; levels of recruitment, retention and progression of minority ethnic recruits; and levels of complaint of racist behaviour or attitude and their outcomes. The Committee will seek to collect data on these indicators, where they cannot be provided by the Home Office, NPCC or other stakeholders.

Terms of Reference

The Committee would welcome written evidence on the following topics:

  • Progress made to date against any of the 70 recommendations made by Sir William Macpherson in 1999 within the report of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry;
  • The extent to which the 43 police forces in England and Wales have made sufficient progress in the last twenty years towards ensuring that the ethnic diversity of their officers, PCSOs and staff reflects the diversity of the communities that they serve;
  • Progress in ensuring that black, Asian and other minority ethnic (‘BAME') officers and staff are properly represented at all ranks of policing, and that the senior leadership of policing (chief officers and police and crime commissioners) includes a representative number of BAME officers and officials;
  • The extent to which the police service has become a diverse and inclusive culture, free from the institutional racism identified by Sir William Macpherson, including the impact of training courses and other initiatives;
  • The quality of the service provided by police forces to BAME individuals and communities;
  • The current state of police relations with BAME individuals and communities, including the impact of police tactics used disproportionately on BAME people, such as stop and search; and
  • The quality and effectiveness of the support and leadership provided by the Home Office and other national bodies in achieving nationwide progress against Sir William's recommendations.

Written submissions

Written submissions are normally published on the Committee's website. If it is necessary to include personal experiences in your submission, or you have concerns about your submission being made public, please contact for advice before submitting. Further guidance on making a submission is available here.

Closing date for written submissions was Thursday 31 January 2019.

  • Send a written submission to the Macpherson Report: Twenty Years On inquiry

Further information

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