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Top Stories: Misogyny And Racism Identified In Met Police, RMT Members Accept Network Rail Pay Offer

Mark Rowley was appointed Met Police Commissioner in 2022 (Alamy)

5 min read

The Metropolitan Police has been identified as racist, misogynistic and homophobic in a damning report published on Tuesday by Baroness Louise Casey, who was commissioned by the Met to investigate the force's culture and standards.

The report was commissioned after PC Wayne Couzens abducted, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard in South London in 2021.

Baroness Casey was chosen to lead the review after having carried out several other high profile investigations, including a review of fan disruption at the Euro 2020 final, a report on tackling homelessness in 2020, and an investigation into sexual abuse in child services in 2014. 

The Met report includes numerous case studies of sexual assaults, as well as statistics that show 12 per cent of women working in the Met have been harassed or attacked at work.

Specialist forces such as the parliamentary and diplomatic protection services were identified as forces which harbour the most toxic work cultures. 

On Tuesday Baroness Casey told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the “new leadership” of Mark Rowley, who replaced Dame Cressida Dick as Met Police Commissioner last year, is “not in denial” about the issues facing the force. 

However, the findings have further called into question how the Met can recover public trust, and what reforms are needed to improve it.

Chair of the women and equalities committee Caroline Nokes told TalkTV: “When people start talking about the breakup of the Met, I wonder if that’s almost an inevitability now.

“It’s proven itself to be a failing organisation that can’t get to grips with its problems, and hasn’t even really tried.”

Nokes called for the Met to be disbanded if it cannot implement effective reforms, and Baroness Casey also told Radio 4 that a restructure may be necessary. 

“I think that if Mark Rowley and Dame Lynne Owens cannot fix this organisation, with the support of the mayor, with the support of the Home Secretary, with everybody in their staff standing behind them, then yes it may need to be broken up,” she said.  

However, Commissioner Rowley told Today that disbanding the force would distract from the focusing on the reforms that are needed.

“We have racists, misogynists, and homophobics in the organisation,” he said. 

“And that it's not just about individuals. It's about systemic failings that create bias. It's about management failings, about cultural failings.”

He said with the changes he will put in place, progress should be seen “month by month, quarter by quarter and certainly after a couple of years”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak suggested that even his own trust in the police has been eroded by the string of misconduct scandals and the recent report. 

“Clearly at the moment trust in the police has been hugely damaged by the things we’ve discovered over the past year,” he told BBC Breakfast.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman will make a statement in the Commons on the issue on Tuesday, and Labour leader Keir Starmer and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper will hold a press conference to set out their party's response.

“The racist, sexist and homophobic abuses of power that have run rife in the Metropolitan Police have shattered the trust that Britain’s policing relies on and let victims down,” Starmer said in a statement.

RMT members accept pay offer from Network Rail

RMT union strike
Network Rail workers have been offered an uplift on salaries (Alamy)

Members of the RMT union at Network Rail have voted to accept a pay offer that includes an uplift on salaries of between 14.4 and 9.2 per cent.

The vote comes after thousands of rail workers went on strike last week as part of a long-running dispute over pay and working conditions. 

RMT members voted by 76 per cent to 24 per cent in favour of accepting the offer, in a turnout of nearly 90 per cent.

However, the new offer is for Network Rail staff such as signallers and track maintenance workers, not workers employed by separate train companies. Therefore, rail strikes are set to continue as train company employees are yet to agree to an offer. 

Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: "My team and I will now focus all our efforts on rebuilding our railway so we can provide a better service for our passengers and freight customers.”

MPs will get a free vote on any sanctions for Boris Johnson

boris johnson
Boris Johnson will be grilled on Wednesday over whether he misled Parliament (Alamy)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that MPs would not be whipped into voting on any future sanctions against former prime minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson is appearing in front of a privileges committee on Wednesday, where he will be questioned on whether he knowingly misled Parliament over ‘partygate’. 

His lawyers are expected to publish a dossier of evidence on Tuesday to argue that the process has been “unfair” and that the evidence “is totally in [Johnson’s] favour”.

However, the committee said in an interim report that evidence strongly suggests Johnson was fully aware that the gatherings held would have breached Covid-19 lockdown rules. 

If the committee determines Johnson did lie to Parliament, Sunak has told BBC Breakfast he will let MPs make decisions “as individuals” about how to vote on any sanctions handed to his predecessor. 

When prime minister, Johnson was heavily criticised after MPs were whipped on sanctions relating to Owen Paterson, but Sunak said it is “normal procedure” to allow MPs to decide for themselves.

The Times has been told by a Whitehall source that Johnson told Parliament that social distancing guidance had been followed “at all times” in No 10 without explicit assurance from his aides.

ConservativeHome carried out a survey of Tory activists which found roughly half believe that Johnson broke lockdown rules and around three in 10 believe that he deliberately misled the Commons over lockdown rule-breaking.

Members of the privileges committee may not release their final verdict on Johnson until next month at the earliest and perhaps not until May, according to the Guardian.

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