Stephen Lawrence Case – Crime and Disorder Act 1998

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Crime and Disorder Act 1998

Racism, according to the United Nations is on decline globally. The government participation in advocating and promoting racial equality within the last ten years has substantially contributed to this decline. Despite the emergence of dangerous street gangs in the UK streets, resurfacing of anti-immigrant politics in addition to media engineered hostility towards Muslims; racism on the whole is declining.

Stephen Lawrence Case

Examining the Stephen Lawrence case, if the incidence had taken place today, due to the emerging social issues within the domain of criminal justice system, the case would be differently handled. Within the growing realm of social media networks, it is becoming evident racist and religious crimes are exceedingly hurtful since they tend to injure individual identity (Thurlow 1998). Due to the increased awareness, the case could have ignited unprecedented folly across various social mediums. Since such cases take place randomly, for instance, at hotels, nightclubs, football matches or on public transport, the government has time and again attempted to implement measures which can thwart racism correlated crimes (Schuster 2003).

Due to such instances the UK government through its legislative arms passed key legislation aimed at tackling the issue of racism. Since the elements of racism are more linked to where the culprit is driven by hostility or as well hatred towards any member of the society. Hence, one of these legislations enacted to curb racism includes the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (amended) (Thurlow 1998).

Racism on Decline in UK

Today numerous measures have been implemented which would have made the scope of policing more effective (Scott 2007). In regard to the nature of investigation carried out on the case, the latest legal provisions would have made the whole process more inclusive. For instance, Crime and Disorder Act 1998 was also amended by Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, and this came into effect as early as 25th November 2012. The act has identified new definite crimes such as stalking and equally generated racially or religiously motivated versions of these crimes.

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To demonstrate that the Stephen Lawrence case would be policed differently if it had occurred today, it would be imperative to link the happenings to a similar scenario in R v Rogers (2007) W.L.R.280, the defendant was involved in racial verbal attack on the plaintiffs, the court upheld that even if the defendant was a product of xenophobia, he had no constitutional obligation to attack others racially.

The UK government asserts that it embraces an environment where free, tolerant and democratic populace thrives. However, the balancing act of integrating individual freedom with the duty of the state must be observed, this has given rise to a more vibrant and informed society which is equally assisting the authorities to fight crimes (Schuster 2003).

In this way, it would be important to note that the issue of incompetence could not have surfaced if the case had taken place today. The problem with the previous police involvement was marred by lack of adequate skills, poor understanding of racism effects on the society, institutional racism as well as a failure of headship by leading police officers. However, today these accusations cannot be tolerated since the populace is more informed and the governments have incorporated effective measures of empowering the police force (Roediger 2010).

It would be prudent to note that the element of institutional racism including professional incompetence are no longer accepted or tolerated within the current UK police force. Today, racial essentialism is no longer accepted, with the gradual police reforms the case would be handled in a way that reflects a reformed criminal justice system as well as an inclusive investigation (Roediger 2010). The modern UK police force is surrounded by citizens who knows and understands their rights.

The influence of societal pressure which is propelling the police force to work effectively would equally compel the police to handle the case in a transparent manner. Other factors which could contribute to better policing of the case would entail the modern scientific approach to crime scene as well as procedures of conducting investigations. Likewise, the scope of police reforms which were initiated after MacPherson enquiry have contributed to better handling of the case so as to avoid public outcry in addition to negative media coverage (Schuster 2003; Scott 2007).

However, currently the police have better recording and surveillance tools which they can employ to react to such instance as Stephen Lawrence case in gathering and conducting credible investigations. On the other hand the structure as well as organization and the management of all crime investigations have been reformed and equipped with adequate facilities to match the expected degree of competence in handling racism associated cases.

The other aspect entails liaison with the affected family so as to have a deeper analysis of the affected person, regular and updated consultation with locals, and overall excision of racist language from the entire police force. Such measures would see that the case is positively and adequately handled without instances of negligence and professional ignorance (Rattansi 2007).

Another instrumental factor which could have helped the case to be policed adequately today lies in that the scope of culture, religion and racism is well understood by current British populace, and thus implementing measures which could avoid future instances of racial associated crimes. It is paramount to argue that an informed populace, reformed police force as well as government willingness to stem the vice would have played a central role in ascertaining the case was adequately handled.

Thus, if the Stephen Lawrence case had taken place today various factors could have ascertained that nothing was left for chance. Such aspects would have included: open and honest investigations, unbiased interrogation, and a dedicated police force. Such issues coupled with a knowledgeable society and media would have facilitated for a proper handling of the case.

References List

Rattansi, A., 2007. Racism: A Very Short Introduction .Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Roediger, D., 2010. The Wages of Whiteness.NY: Verso.

Schuster, L., 2003, The Use and Abuse of Political Asylum in Britain and Germany .Berlin: Frank Cass.

Scott, J W, 2007., The Politics of the Veil .NY: Princeton University Press.

Thurlow, R., 1998. Fascism in Britain: from Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts. Oxford: IB Tauris

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