Stephen Lawrence, who was stabbed to death in a race murder in Eltham in 1993. Photograph: Rex Features
A counter-terrorism chief who was moved from his post over claims that undercover officers spied on the family of Stephen Lawrence will be reinstated to full duties despite still being under investigation.
Scotland Yard confirmed that Commander Richard Walton, who was removed from operational duties in March, will resume his role on 1 December, even though he is still facing an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The watchdog is looking at allegations of “discreditable conduct and breaches of honesty and integrity” over claims he met an undercover officer who had information about the Lawrences.
He was temporarily moved from his job in the force’s counter-terrorism command in March.
This followed the publication of a damning report by Mark Ellison QC on the original Lawrence murder investigation.
Ellison revealed that an undercover officer – known as N81 – held a meeting in 1998 with Walton, who was then an acting detective inspector working on Scotland Yard’s Lawrence review team, responsible for making submissions to the Macpherson inquiry into failings in the investigation into the racist murder of the 18-year-old.
Scotland Yard said: “On Friday, March 7 the Metropolitan police made the decision to temporarily move Commander Richard Walton from his post as Head of the Terrorism Command, SO15, to a non-operational role.
“As would always be the case the decision has been kept under review.
“In June it was decided that Commander Walton will return to his post, SO15, in the absence of any new information being received from the IPCC.
“As no information has so far been received that remains the current plan, and he will move on Monday, December 1.
“The IPCC have been made aware of our intention.”
Walton is alleged to have met the undercover officer in 1998 and “obtained information pertaining to the Lawrence family and their supporters, potentially undermining the (Macpherson) inquiry and public confidence”.
It is also claimed that he provided inconsistent accounts to Ellison’s review team.
IPCC investigators are looking at further allegations of discreditable conduct by two former officers, then-Det Insp Robert Lambert and Commander Colin Black, who were both identified in the review as having played a part in facilitating the meeting with the undercover officer.
Aspiring architect Stephen was murdered in Eltham, south-east London, in April 1993. It took nearly 20 years for two of the gang of up to six killers to be brought to justice.
The Ellison report disclosed that in the late 1990s, N81 infiltrated a group which was apparently working to influence the Lawrence family’s justice campaign to further its own agenda.
Feedback from N81 to his unit, the shadowy Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), touched on personal details concerning the Lawrence family, such as comments on the separation of Stephen’s parents, Doreen and Neville.
It was claimed that a meeting was set up between N81 and Walton, which was described as a “fascinating and valuable exchange of information”.
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