‘They were talking to me as though I was a suspect’: Thirty years after Stephen Lawrence’s murder, ethnic minority Londoners believe the Metropolitan Police is getting worse.

This year is 30 years since the death of Stephen Lawrence.

Stephen was a black teenager from south-east London, who was fatally stabbed at a bus stop, on April 22, 1993.

His killers were unknown to him.

He was just eighteen years old.

His murder was reported to the Metropolitan Police; however, it was not until 2011 that just two people were prosecuted for his death.

The other four assailants involved in his murder have never been charged in relation to the crime.

Stephen’s death was investigated in depth through the Macpherson report, which in 1999, found the Metropolitan Police to be institutionally racist.

In 2023, the Metropolitan Police has been investigated again, this time after a police officer by the name of Wayne Couzens abused his position as an officer to sexually abuse countless women.  

This report, carried out by Baroness Louise Casey, again found the Metropolitan Police to be institutionally racist.

It is no wonder that recent survey results show that the majority of ethnic minority Britons still do not trust the Metropolitan Police.

In fact, according to YouGov’s survey, ethnic minority Brits believe that the police force has in fact worsened. 

But is this the case?

In 2019, rapper and activist Isaac Borquaye, who is more commonly known as Guvna B, was the victim of a racist attack for which he never got justice. 

He told his story very calmly, however the pain in his eyes was evident as he discussed what was no doubt a traumatising incident. 

He reflects: “I had gone to get a coffee from my local coffee shop, and on my way back to my car, there were three white guys standing in front of it, who wouldn’t let me pass. 

“I kept saying “Excuse me please”, and they still wouldn’t move, so I gently brushed past one of them and within the space of fifteen seconds, he said something to me like “What are you doing”, and he threw my coffee in my eye and punched me in the face.

“It all escalated very quickly, and they made a run for it. 

“I called the police, but by the time they got there they had gone. Some of the questions that the police asked me, such as “Have you been in trouble with the police before”, “Did they say anything racist?”, definitely made me feel some type of way. 

“On my way to the hospital, my reflection was that I had called the police as I needed help, and they were talking to me as though I was a suspect.

“ I don’t think this would have happened if I didn’t look the way that I do, and so I internalised it for a little bit while they were making their inquiries. 

“After a few months, they closed the case, and I felt as though I didn’t have any closure, which I really struggled with.” 

Isaac maintains that those who want there to be institutional change need to actively work for it themselves, rather than relying on the police to change: “There’s a lot of people living in London that are passive, that see the things that are going on around them and think that they cannot do anything about it, but you’re not going to change anything if that’s your attitude.”



The Metropolitan Police have been contacted for comment, but have not replied at the time of publication.