Sir Norman Bettison faces investigation amid claims that officers tried to discredit relatives of the murdered teenager.
Former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Sir Norman Bettison
Former police chief Sir Norman Bettison has been referred to the police watchdog over claims officers tried to smear Stephen Lawrenceâ€™s family.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said he had â€œsignificant concernsâ€ about Sir Normanâ€™s conduct when he was Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police in 1998.
He said documents had emerged relating to Sir Normanâ€™s involvement in the Macpherson inquiry â€“ a probe of the Metropolitan Policeâ€™s investigation into the teenagerâ€™s murder.
The documents refer to Sir Norman â€œcommissioning a report to be prepared in respect of a key witnessâ€ at the inquiry.
â€œThis may suggest an attempt to intervene in the course of a public inquiry and influence the manner in which the testimony of a witness, who was due to present evidence before it, was received,â€ Mr Burns-Williamson said.
He went on: â€œThis is a matter which needs to be thoroughly investigated and, if wrongdoing is demonstrated, those responsible must face the consequences of their actions.
â€œDoreen Lawrence (Stephenâ€™s mother) and her family need their treatment by the police service reviewed independently and this must be done as a matter of urgency.
â€œI am sure the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will do the same for these separate issues of concern indicating possible corrupt practices in the later period around the Macpherson Inquiry.â€
It comes days after Ms Lawrence met Britainâ€™s top policeman, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, over claims by a former undercover officer that the Lawrence family were subjected to a â€œsmearâ€ campaign shortly after the 18-year-oldâ€™s killing in Eltham, southeast London, in a racist attack.
The officer, Peter Francis, said his superiors wanted him to find â€œdirtâ€ that could be used against the Lawrences.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has also started a Lawrence investigation after claims the forceâ€™s Special Branch sent a memo in August 1998 to all divisions seeking information on â€œgroups or individualsâ€ expected to attend the Manchester-based Macpherson inquiry.
GMP referred itself to the IPCC over the matter.
Home Secretary Theresa May, who has met with Ms Lawrence, said earlier this week that the claims could be examined by two existing inquiries â€“ a police probe into the activities of undercover officers and another led by Mark Ellison QC into allegations of corruption in the original investigation into Mr Lawrenceâ€™s murder.
But Ms Lawrence said she did not trust the existing police-led investigation into undercover officers and expressed shock that her family was targeted.
Ex-Police Chief Bettison Faces Lawrence Probe