Keir Starmer QC, awarded honorary doctorate by east London university
PUBLISHED: 17:32 19 November 2013 | UPDATED: 17:32 19 November 2013
The former Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of East London in a ceremony held at the O2 Arena recently.
Mr Starmer, a leading human rights barrister, was joined by Leroy Logan MBE, the founder member and past Chair of both the National and London Black Police Associations.
Keir Starmer spoke about the need for social mobility and how it is important for students from BME and non-traditional academic backgrounds to enter into the legal profession.
He said: “For my part, there were no lawyers in my family. My father was a toolmaker and my mother a nurse and I was lucky enough to be appointed a QC and later DPP. Thus, I have a great affinity with the ethos and values of UEL, the emphasis on community, diversity and that transition through to social mobility to give people opportunities.
“Social mobility is really important across all of our institutions and law is a really good example. There is not enough diversity within the profession and the judges and lawyers within the sector do not truly reflect the society we live in today. It has to change and it is changing. There has been good work done and more needs to be done.
“My advice to law students would be to have confidence in your own ability and even though there is hard work ahead, it will be truly rewarding in the end.”
In an interview before collecting his award, Leroy Logan discussed the recent report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission which states that black, Asian and mixed race people are still more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts.
He said: “I think stop and search if used properly is a very effective tool, but it has got to be intelligence-based. It has to be used in a way that even when you stop people, you are treating them with respect and dignity. When powers are not used in the way they should be, people feel humiliated and undermined.
“Especially young people who I work with on a daily basis, they always say they feel over-policed and underprotected. It’s a question of working in partnership with people who might feel alienated when it comes to those powers.”