Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Good Cop, Bad Cop? the Men at Heart of Claims

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Good Cop, Bad Cop? the Men at Heart of Claims

Article excerpt


THE two officers at the centre of the latest corruption allegations involving the first Stephen Lawrence murder investigation worked together at a now disbanded regional crime squad in the early Nineties.

Detective Sergeant John Davidson joined the squad after leaving the collapsed investigation where he had been in charge of witnesses and developing informants.

He served with Detective Constable Neil Putnam who later turned supergrass and accused several colleagues, including Davidson, of corruption. Davidson always denied the allegations.

At the heart of the new claims is whether Putnam told anticorruption detectives at the time that Davidson had a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris, the father of Lawrence murder suspect David Norris.

Putnam says that when he told officers that corruption had been a key part of the failed Lawrence investigation, this was covered up. The Met deny this.

As a detective sergeant, Davidson played a key role in the original murder investigation and was severely criticised in the report produced by Sir William Macpherson's public inquiry.

Davidson - a burly Scot nicknamed "OJ" or "Obnoxious Jock" by his colleagues - now runs a bar in Spain after retiring in 1998. His appearance at the Macpherson inquiry later that year prompted angry exchanges when he said he did not believe Stephen's death was the result of a racist attack.

In the inquiry report he was also criticised for his handling of a key informant who came forward with names of suspects after the murder.

The Macpherson inquiry was informed by the Met in September 1998 that

the retired detective sergeant was under investigation for corruption after being named by Putnam.

A letter to the inquiry clerk from the then deputy commissioner, John Stevens, details how officers raided and searched Davidson's home on 10 September 1998, but says there was then no connection between him and Clifford Norris. …

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