LONDON — The Metropolitan Police is riddled with “institutional” racism, misogyny and homophobia, a blistering report on the U.K.’s largest police force concluded.
The official review — conducted over twelve months by former top civil servant Louise Casey in the wake of a host of high-profile crimes involving Met officers — warns that the London force has lost the faith of the British public. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said faith in the Met has been “hugely damaged,” while London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the report marked “one of the darkest days in the history” of the force.
The findings come in the wake of serving Met officer Wayne Couzens’ kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard. Just last month, former Met officer David Carrick — similarly trusted to guard parliament and diplomatic sites as part of an elite team — was sentenced to life in jail for abusing multiple women while in the force.
The review identifies a number of cases where female, gay or minority ethnic officers were mistreated or abused by colleagues, and derides a bullying “boys’ club” culture in which predators had “too many places to hide.”
In one situation mentioned in the report, a policewoman who accused a senior colleague of multiple sexual assaults was labeled a liar and a troublemaker by the people she worked with. In another, a female officer who reported being raped by a colleague was then forced to work alongside him.
Casey’s review also details widespread bullying, often along racist, sexist or homophobic lines. In one example, a “horrified” Muslim officer found bacon had been placed in the boots inside his locker, while one in five LGBTQ+ Met employees said they had experienced homophobia inside the force.
The report describes how the Met has failed to prioritize the protection of women and children.
Casey details how the use of broken fridges and freezers — used to store evidence by the sexual offenses unit — led to the dropping of several rape cases. One officer told the review that the detection rate for rape cases is so low that it has “basically been legalized in London.”
The review points to deep funding cuts that “disfigured” the service between 2010 and 2019, and warns that the force may need to be broken up if substantive change is not forthcoming.
“If sufficient progress is not being made at the points of further review, more radical, structural options, such as dividing up the Met into national, specialist and London responsibilities, should be considered to ensure the service to Londoners is prioritized,” Casey recommends.
The peer also identified “serious issues of culture and behavior” at two specialist Met units. Casey called for one, the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection unit responsible for protecting parliament, to be effectively disbanded as it is a “dark corner of the Met where poor behaviors can easily flourish.” Both Couzens and Carrick served in this unit.
Responding to the report, Met Commissioner Mark Rowley apologized and said he “fully accepts” the “sobering” findings.
However, in a Sky interview Tuesday, Rowley said he would not use the term “institutionally racist” to describe the force.
Pressed by the BBC on whether his own daughters could now trust the police in London, Sunak declined to do so, saying only: “Of course we need the answer to that question to be yes. Clearly at the moment trust in the police has been hugely damaged by the things that we’ve discovered over the past year.”
As reported by POLITICO
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Author: Amnon Jakony |
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