The murder of the teenager Stephen Lawrence in April 1993 became an important moment in our modern history. The crime – and the police’s failure to catch his killers – shocked Britain. The dogged campaign led by the Lawrence family made social and legal history, with a major inquiry into institutional racism, and a change in the criminal law which saw two of his murderers finally convicted on new DNA evidence in 2012.
Twenty years on, how much has changed – in Britain, in London, and in Eltham itself?
British Future’s new report, The Integration Consensus 1993-2013: How Britain changed since Stephen Lawrence, directly addresses this question.
Through looking at national polling carried out for British Future by BritainThinks, and two events in Eltham in March 2013 – a citizens’ jury and a debate – there is evidence that Britain has changed, as has Eltham. We found that 51% of people polled thought levels of racism were higher in 1993 than they are today, while anxiety about living next door to somebody of a different ethnicity has fallen to an all-time low of just 6%.
But the report also found that while discrimination has fallen in some areas, it still exists, and for certain groups is very pronounced. Specifically 54% of people polled think that Muslims experience a lot of prejudice today.
Other highlights of the report include comments from leading academic Rob Ford at the University of Manchester, David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, and Jonathan Portes, director, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.