New policing and criminal justice launched in memory of Stephen Lawrence

The Fulbright-Stephen Lawrence Scholar Award in Policing will enable a UK police officer or member of staff to conduct research in a three-month program hosted by three Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the US. 

“The death of Stephen Lawrence was among the most painful of episodes in recent history of criminal justice in the UK”

The universities include Howard University School of Law, the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, and North Carolina Central University School of Law. The grant will be offered in the 2022-23 academic year. 

Stephen Lawrence, who the award is named after, was a black British teenager from London who was murdered in a racist attack in 1993.

“The death of Stephen Lawrence was among the most painful of episodes in recent history of criminal justice in the UK,” said Maria Balinska, executive director of the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

“Today, with so much attention on policing in the US, where race is very much in the spotlight, this exchange of knowledge and experience across the Atlantic could not be more timely. 

“A great deal of research has been conducted in the US specifically with regard to race and policing, and racial justice is a global challenge we are committed to facing head on through this new award.”

Andrew George, president of the NBPA, said that the award speaks to “hope for a better future – the lasting legacy of Stephen Lawrence”. 

“The award named after him will be invaluable in informing policing black British communities. We are curious to find out what perspectives law schools at HBCUs in the US will offer us,” he said.  

Recruitment, screening and selection of candidates will be open competition and merit-based. The Commission will select scholars through a “rigorous application and interview process”, looking for “academic excellence, cultural curiosity, a desire to further the Fulbright mission and a plan to give back to the UK upon returning”. 

Baroness Lawrence, Stephen Lawrence’s mother, will also review the short-listed applications, informing the interviews conducted with the assistance of the NBPA. 

“The UK and the US have taken different approaches when it comes to policing citizens. Education exchange is precisely intended to explore differences, as a means to broaden perspectives and encourage new ideas and thinking,” the three law schools said in a joint statement. 

“We are proud to host this exchange, which will enrich the body of research around law enforcement and community engagement,” they added.

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