Churches reject Hague's comments on Lawrence enquiry

 The Churches' Commission for Racial Justice has slammed opposition leader William Hague's assertion that the Stephen Lawrence enquiry called all police in Britain racist and stopped them from doing their jobs. Mr Hague's statement, that "police morale has collapsed because of the MacPherson Report, and a condescending liberal elite which has never trusted the police and wants us to believe that they are all racist" thus causing a "crisis in the service in the UK" has angered anti-racist campaigners and the Lawrence family. Neville Lawrence, father of murdered teenager Stephen said: "The whole of my family is very hurt by Mr Hague's comments. He is not a fit person to be saying these things especially coming up to Christmas when my family misses Stephen so much. His party was in power when my son was murdered and they did nothing to find out what happened. Mr Hague should be trying to unite the country not divide it. He has been trying to play the race card for some time. " Moderator of CCRJ, the Rt Rev Roger Sainsbury, said: "Mr Hague's remarks about the need to rebuild trust and confidence in the police among the minority ethnic community will only happen as the police, like other institutions, face up to the need to eradicate racism. I have been very encouraged at the very real progress made by the Met in response to the Stephen Lawrence enquiry and I have used this to challenge the Church. There is a real danger that Mr Hague's comments will hinder progress and encourage self-admitted racism in our society." Secretary of the CCRJ the Rev Arlington Trotman said: "We recognise that the Metropolitan Police is making a concerted attempt to rid itself of its self-admitted institutional racism but despite the welcome attempts to change, much more must be done to defeat the 'canteen culture in policing . It is unimaginable that Mr Hague's intention is to incite racism but sadly his comments and approach to race in these statements is likely to have such an effect. "CCRJ urges Mr Hague to support and not undermine and negate the countless efforts of thousands of people, black, white and Asian police and others to ensure that no one else dies because of his or her ethnic origin, race or culture. Party leaders should speak with greater care and encourage the police (and others) to continue efforts to root out aspect so their policies and practices which disadvantage black and Asian operational and civilian staff and to help build conditions in the Met to attract new recruits in the force."

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