Race 'not on Government's agenda' says Doreen Lawrence
The mother of Stephen Lawrence, the black teenager murdered in a racist attack, has accused the Government of neglecting race relations issues.
Doreen Lawrence warned that ministers were turning their backs on equality measures and risked returning Britain to a less tolerant place.
"Race is definitely not on the government's agenda,” she said.
“They have done away with the stop-and-search recording. Even before they came in, they talked about changing things, particularly on stop and search; that they would do away with the forms and they have done that.
"I don't really understand it because we all want a society in which we can live safely and live freely and to have police officers doing what they need to do on the street. “But when it comes to race, they feel as if they are doing us a favour rather than doing what is right."
Stephen, 18, was murdered in Eltham, south east London, in 1993 but his killers, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were only brought to justice at the start of this year. Both were given life sentences at the Old Bailey.
Last month Mrs Lawrence wrote to David Cameron, the Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the other major party leaders, expressing her concern about moves to dilute a duty the government has to assess the impact of its policies on minorities.
Her letter was ignored, however, she said.
"With the new government in, the whole thing around race has changed completely," she told The Guardian.
She warned that “if we don’t make a stand” the country and its institutions would become more unequal again.
A letter she wrote to Nick Herbert, the then policing minister, was also allegedly ignored.
Mrs Lawrence said: “I wrote to him suggesting we could have a meeting to see what we have been doing over the years and to see how we could work together. He never replied to any of my letters; not once…That just shows to me that as far as they are concerned, if we have made any inroads, it wasn't important to them."
She also lamented that the unity seen at the time of the London Olympics had not endured.
“I think people have gone back into their old little worlds and the austerity doesn't help,” she said.
A Government spokesman said: "The government is committed to a fair society with equal treatment and equal opportunity. Dealing with racism is a key part of that commitment.
"We want to ensure public services meet our commitment to equal treatment, which is why we are reviewing whether the equality duty is operating as intended. This is about ensuring equality of treatment, not diluting protections."