Stephen Lawrence father to address Belfast forum on racism in policing
The father of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence is to address a major gathering in Northern Ireland of black police officers on efforts to tackle racism within UK forces.
Neville Lawrence will be a guest speaker at the National Black Police Association's (NBPA) annual conference, which is being hosted here for the first time.
The theme of this year's meeting is how far policing has come since a landmark inquiry into Stephen's 1993 murder in south-east London found evidence of institutional racism in the police.
The Macpherson Inquiry urged major reforms, making 72 recommendations for change within policing.
Mr Lawrence said he was looking forward to taking part in the event here.
"I realise there is still a lot of work to do with racism in policing and I will assist the police service in preserving Stephen's legacy and adherence to the ethos of the Macpherson Inquiry," he said.
The PSNI is hosting the NBPA conference and general meeting over three days in October.
Imran Khan QC, who represented the Lawrence family at the inquiry, will also speak at the event.
During the conference a special award will be presented to Constable Wayne Marques - a British Transport Police officer who confronted the London Bridge terror attackers in June of last year.
NBPA president Sergeant Tola Munro said: "I am delighted to bring the NBPA national conference to Belfast. It is an ideal setting to highlight some of the challenges we still face in dealing with race relations in policing and wider society.
"I have no doubt that the great people of Belfast will welcome delegates and appreciate what positive changes we can bring to policing and the communities we serve."
PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said: "We are delighted to be hosting the annual NBPA conference for the first time in Northern Ireland and look forward to welcoming delegates to our great city.
"The NBPA, supported locally by our Ethnic Minority Police Association, have been developing a comprehensive programme and have secured the attendance of a number of internationally renowned speakers."
He added: "The theme - 20 years on: the Macpherson Inquiry: How far have we come? - will allow those attending to reflect on the progress which has been made since Stephen was murdered in 1993 and consider the many challenges which we face."