Stephen Lawrence Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:49 pm on 29th March 1999.

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Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Shadow Secretary of State 5:49 pm, 29th March 1999

I hope that our debate will be constructive, so I would say that the Government need to think carefully and deeply about that matter and any precedents that it might set. I understand the point made by my right hon. Friend; as he is aware, I was involved with pension policy, so perhaps I have a greater interest in the subject than most people.

The general message sent out by that kind of proposal is even more important than its specifics. I believe that most police officers are overwhelmingly sympathetic to the case for reform, but in that process of reform it is essential that the Government take the police service with them. It will be in no one's interests to have a demoralised service reacting defensively; everyone should be aiming at having a police service that positively embraces and supports reform.