Stephen Lawrence smears: 'No evidence' yet found by probe

Doreen Lawrence
Image caption Stephen Lawrence's mother Doreen has said the investigation is "not transparent"

An inquiry into claims undercover police sought to smear the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has so far found no evidence of wrongdoing, says the officer leading the probe.

Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon told MPs further investigation and interviews with officers were needed.

Mr Creedon is leading Operation Herne, looking into past undercover practices.

Meanwhile, the government has said it could order a public inquiry into police corruption in the Lawrence case.

Mr Creedon told the influential Home Affairs Select Committee that Operation Herne had so far uncovered nothing to suggest either any attempt to task officers "against the Stephen Lawrence family" or to "besmirch" them.

But he said further investigation was needed and that he was keen to trace and speak to more officers working at the time with the Metropolitan Police's now-disbanded Special Demonstration Squad.

'Who tasked him'

Stephen was murdered aged 18 in a racist attack in south London in 1993.

His mother, Doreen Lawrence, has said she has no confidence in the police's ability to investigate claims undercover officers tried to besmirch her family following the murder.

Former undercover officer Peter Francis made the allegations to the Guardian newspaper and Channel 4's Dispatches programme.

Mr Creedon stressed he had not yet spoken to Mr Francis and said: "I want to put a plea to Peter Francis to answer questions. Otherwise we won't know who tasked him."

He told the committee there was, in relation to the Lawrence family, "reporting" by officers who had infiltrated violent protest groups which were attempting to target the Lawrence family or use the murder as a way to highlight their campaign.

Mr Creedon said Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe was aware that covert police departments had made reports on Stephen Lawrence.

"That's very different to attempts to smear the family", he added.

Another inquiry, into corruption in the original investigation into Stephen's murder, is being led by Mark Ellison QC and due to report by the end of the year.

Home Secretary Theresa May said that if Mr Ellison believed a judge-led public inquiry was necessary then she would order one.

Mrs Lawrence has already said she wants a public inquiry.

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