Chapter

A Virtuous Exception? The Macpherson Inquiry and Report into the Murder of Stephen Lawrence and its Investigation

P.A.J. Waddington

in The Eternal Recurrence of Crime and Control: Essays in Honour of Paul Rock

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199580231
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191702280 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580231.003.0009

Series: Clarendon Studies in Criminology

A Virtuous Exception? The Macpherson Inquiry and Report into the Murder of Stephen Lawrence and its Investigation

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Ten years after its publication, the report of the inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence and its investigation, referred to as the Macpherson Inquiry and Report, continues to enjoy a virtually untrammelled reputation for its integrity and willingness to search for and uncover the truth about racism, policing, and criminal justice in Britain. This chapter argues that far from being a ‘search for the truth’, the Macpherson Inquiry was explicitly designed to avoid the principal allegation of the family and their supporters, which was that the failure to arrest and prosecute the four suspects was the result of ‘corruption and collusion’. It also suggests that the notion of ‘institutional racism’ was a rhetorical device that gave the appearance of excoriating criticism, but lacked any significant policy implications.

Keywords: Stephen Lawrence; Macpherson Inquiry and Report; racism; policing; criminal justice

Chapter.  10341 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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