The Home Secretary yesterday told the murdered teenager's mother, Doreen Lawrence, that she will appoint a leading barrister to look into claims that the original police operation was biased.

It has been alleged that officers may have shielded the racist gang who stabbed Stephen to death in south London 19 years ago, and that not all of the relevant paperwork was passed to the landmark public inquiry carried out by Sir William Macpherson - but both Scotland Yard and the police watchdog said this week they had found no proof.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "The Home Secretary has asked for a QC-led review of the work the Metropolitan Police has undertaken into investigating claims of corruption in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation."

The announcement comes just a day after the police watchdog said it could find no new evidence of corruption in the 1993 investigation.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission had looked into claims regarding the relationship between former Detective Sergeant John Davidson and Clifford Norris, the father of David Norris who was jailed for life earlier this year along with Gary Dobson for the racist murder.

It was also alleged that Scotland Yard had failed to act on a supergrass's warnings about corrupt officers on the case.

But the IPCC said it had found no evidence about the claims.

Its chief executive, Jane Furniss, said: "I commissioned this review as I was concerned by media reports that there may be new evidence to support a claim that police corruption in relation to former DS Davidson's relationship with Clifford Norris, the father of David Norris, played a part in hampering the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.

"As part of that review, the IPCC contacted the journalists responsible for the stories to determine whether they had or were aware of any new evidence that corruption had played a part in the original murder investigation into the death of Stephen Lawrence.

"However, despite the prominence afforded to these stories in the press, they did not provide any information or evidence to assist the review. We also contacted Mr and Mrs Lawrence's solicitors who confirmed that they had no new evidence or material that could assist the review.

"This was a thorough review, entailing consideration of the source material used in the original inquiry and undertaken by an experienced investigator with no previous involvement in the case."

The Met's Directorate of Professional Standards looked at thousands of archived documents but also concluded that the force disclosed all relevant material about officers under suspicion to the public inquiry into Stephen's murder, and that no new material had emerged.

Commander Peter Spindler said: "We fully appreciate that Stephen's family want all their questions rightly answered. We hope this review goes at least some way to address their concerns and those that have appeared in the media.

"At this stage there are no new allegations or evidence that would merit further investigation. However, should any new information arise relating to alleged corruption in the original investigation into Stephen's murder, it would be seriously considered."

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