Stephen Lawrence: Police vigilance coming 20 years late…

Well Hall Road, 21 April I 2013

It’s 20 years today since Stephen Lawrence was murdered in Well Hall Road, Eltham. I was cycling around the area yesterday evening, and decided to divert via Well Hall Road to pause at the memorial.

As I wrote when two of his killers were belatedly convicted in 2012, the crime – plus the knowledge that others remain beyond justice – has helped shaped the way I, and others who grew up in south-east London at the time, see the world. Some lives were more precious than others to the Metropolitan Police of 1993, and there are those who argue that not enough has changed.

Pedalling through the pretty Progress Estate, I thought about how times have changed in Eltham since those days, but memories are long.

I stopped to take a photo of the memorial, noting opposite there was a police CCTV van, engine running, keeping watch. As I got ready to leave, an officer approached. As soon as he twigged I was no racist headbanger he was charm personified, but I had to give my name so it could be run through the police national computer. The Met’s top brass were very nervous about the anniversary, he explained.

I pointed out to him that with the greatest of respect, it was a shame the police couldn’t have shown this level of vigilance 20 years ago.

“Well, sir, we all make mistakes.”


A think-tank called British Future recently held a workshop and debate in Eltham on the issues surrounding the anniversary – you can read more about it here.


  1. I still remember his murder as if it happened last week, and I wasn’t even contemplating living in SE London at that time, let alone actually here.

    RIP Stephen.

  2. Went to Mass last night at 6 pm Police van was parked outside the church which is opposite the memorial to Stephen Lawrence, were they expecting something ?

  3. Rest well in the arms of our Lord Stephen, you are still fighting for us 20 years on, from up above. This makes me think of you as a TRUE WARRIOR and all the credit to your Mum and entire family for all the good work they put in on daily basis and how this speaks for those among us whose voices are ignored Till we meet again Brother, God be with you, stay with you and continue to protect you, forever and ever Amen.

  4. I do feel it was wrong what happened to Stephen Lawrence but policing in general towards minority groups including gay people and especially towards transgender and disabled people is appallingly bad. I do not feel the police are institutionally racist any more as they were but they are in relation to the last two groups I have mentioned, where MPS are shoddy in the extreme. People do need to remember racism works both ways. There is such a thing as black on white racism which I have seen for myself and that needs to be taken seriously too so that resentment doesn’t grow. At the same time, it’s important that people’s views on restricting immigration in to Britain are not confused with being accused of being racist for saying that this country is now full and bursting to the seams from people coming from East Europe, African and Asian countries and Western Europe.

Comments are closed.