UK
05/07/2013 03:34 BST | Updated 05/07/2013 03:35 BST

Stephen Lawrence Race-Relations Expect 'Victim Of Smear Campaign By Police'

AP
Eighteen-year-old Stephen was waiting for a bus with Brooks when he was murdered by racists in Eltham, south-east London

A race relations worker whose evidence was key in the inquiry into the police handling of Stephen Lawrence's murder is the victim of a suspected smear campaign by Sir Norman Bettison, the former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, it was claimed.

The allegations came as it emerged that the friend of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, whose meetings with lawyers and police were allegedly bugged, will meet the Deputy Prime Minister on Friday to discuss the claims.

Mohammed Amran was recognised for efforts following the riots in Bradford in 1995, but later criticised the police during his evidence to the Macpherson Inquiry, which examined matters surrounding Lawrence's death.

Amran has now been notified of "alarming" evidence suggesting Sir Norman allegedly sought to discredit him and influence the way his evidence to the inquiry was received, the Independent said.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, who notified Amran and who has referred the evidence to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), has spoken of "significant concerns" about Sir Norman's conduct when he was Assistant Chief Constable of the force.

Amran was last night seeking clarification from the IPCC about how Sir Norman allegedly tried to smear his name, according to the Independent.

Amran, who received an honorary degree from Bradford University in 2002 for his work on social cohesion following the riots in the city, was once a lay adviser to the National Policing Improvement Agency, when Sir Norman was its chief executive.

"If he had anything to say about me, he had the chance to say them there and then," he said. "We talked regularly. I was advising the agency on diversity and equality.

"The Commissioner (Mark Burns-Williamson) had told me that there is information which has been referred and which has severely discredited me. I am waiting to learn more about what has been said."

Sir Norman is yet to respond to the allegations which the IPCC is now investigating, the newspaper said.

There is evidence of previous attempts to discredit Mr Amran at times when he was challenging the police's efforts in race relations, the Independent said.

He alleges that he was arrested a number of times, though never charged, before discovering that West Yorkshire Police had compiled evidence against him and sent it to the then Commission for Racial Equality chairman Gurbux Singh, urging the commission not to reappoint him.

Amran later sued West Yorkshire Police for racial discrimination, which was settled out of court.

Separately, Duwayne Brooks will meet Nick Clegg at his Whitehall office after it was alleged that he and his lawyers were invited to meetings with police in 1999 or 2000, and that officers were given authorisation to use bugs.

He will attend the meeting with his legal team, Jane Deighton and Beverley McBean.

The claims affecting Brooks came after former undercover officer Peter Francis alleged that he had been told to find information to use to smear the Lawrence family.

Eighteen-year-old Stephen was waiting for a bus with Brooks when he was murdered by racists in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993.

Francis, who worked with Scotland Yard's former Special Demonstration Squad, spoke out about tactics that he said were used by the secretive unit in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the wake of his claims, Mr and Mrs Lawrence called for a public inquiry into the allegations, which the teenager's mother said made her feel "sick to the stomach".

After a meeting with Home Secretary Theresa May last week, she said: "'We want it to be open and not behind closed doors, so that we can hear once and for all exactly what was going on after Stephen was murdered."

May, who previously said that two existing probes could examine the allegations, has said she will meet Lawrence again to discuss what should happen.

She initially suggested that an inquiry led by barrister Mark Ellison QC into alleged corruption in the original Lawrence murder investigation could be extended, as well as a police-led probe into the activities of undercover officers.