Members of new board designed to hold Met Police to account revealed

Stephen Lawrence’s brother Stuart will be one of the twelve members of London Policing Board, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

New Scotland Yard and (inset) Stuart Lawrence
New Scotland Yard and (inset) Stuart Lawrence

City Hall has revealed that a new board designed to hold the Met Police to account will include Stephen Lawrence’s brother among its members.Stuart Lawrence, an author and educator whose older brother was murdered in a racist attack in 1993, will be one of the London Policing Board’s twelve independent members.

The board’s creation was recommended by Baroness Casey in her scathing review of the Met’s culture, which earlier this year found the force to be institutionally sexist, racist and homophobic.

Other members include retired police officer Neil Basu – former national lead for counter terrorism policing – and Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition.

Chaired by mayor Sadiq Khan, the board will meet in public and on a quarterly basis.

Khan said the board comprises a “diverse range of outside expertise and lived experiences and will help me oversee and drive the changes in policing that Londoners need and deserve”.

He added: “Crucially, we have strong representation from those communities who have been let down by the police for far too long and have the lowest levels of trust in the Met.

“Their contribution will be invaluable to driving the reform we need to see to build a safer and fairer London for everyone.”

In addition to the twelve independent members, the board will include two of Khan’s deputy mayors – Sophie Linden and Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard – along with London’s victims commissioner Claire Waxman OBE, and Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal, who is executive member for community safety on the cross-party London Councils organisation.

Its first meeting is on Tuesday (26th), with Baroness Casey expected to address the inaugural session.

She said: “Londoners, particularly those who have been let down the most, have had enough reports and reviews. They want change. So, the Board’s role in helping drive the changes needed will be pivotal to delivering a police service that Londoners and officers who put themselves at risk in order to protect the rest of us can be proud of.”

Aspects of the board’s creation have proved controversial in parts of City Hall, because unlike the London Assembly, and excepting Khan and Athwal, its members have not been democratically elected.

The assembly’s police and crime committee has traditionally been key in scrutinising the police, but Met chief Sir Mark Rowley prompted concerns from its members when he told them earlier this month he may have to attend its sessions less often, if his time is occupied by the new board.

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