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Police abusing stop and search powers, says Operation Black Vote

Scotland Yard says it's investigating a complaint from the brother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence about race discrimination.

School teacher Stuart Lawrence, 35, has started legal action against the Metropolitan Police, after claiming he's been stopped in his car 25 times because he is black. Simon Woolley is Director of Operation Black Vote - the racial equality organisation.

He says if this is proven it is unacceptable.

Premier's Marcus Jones asked him on the News Hour whether he would like to see an end to Stop and Search.

Mr Lawrence's lawyers say he's been repeatedly pulled over in his car but hasn't ever been charged with an offence. It's reported a letter of complaint has been sent to Scotland Yard Chief Bernard Hogan Howe.

In a statement to Premier a police spokesperson said:

"Mr Lawrence's complaint, which we received last night, is a very serious matter and it will be investigated thoroughly and speedily. 

"Stop and search is an important tool to combat crime and is supported by the community if it is used professionally and fairly. 

"Officers are accountable for their actions and it is therefore essential complaints such as these are fully investigated.

"The Commissioner has made it clear that he will not tolerate any form of racism in the MPS. Strong action will be taken against any individuals in the MPS if they are found to have acted in a racist manner."

In 1999, the force was accused of being institutionally racist following the inquiry into Stephen Lawrence's murder. Last January, Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted of the 18-year-old's murder in south-east London. And last Friday, his mother Doreen announced a number of events to celebrate his legacy.

The charity set up in his honour is launching a campaign to mark the 20th anniversary of his death. It will include a memorial service, a concert and a gala ball.

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