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Suella Braverman Trusts Met Police To Address "Serious Failures" On Racism, Misogyny And Homophobia

Suella Braverman made a statement to the House on the need to reform the Met (Alamy)

4 min read

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said she trusts the Met Police to tackle "serious failures" of leadership after a damning review by Dame Louise Casey identified a culture of racism, misogyny and homophobia in the force.

In a statement to the House of Commons following the publication of the report on Tuesday, Braverman said every officer in the force in England needs to be part of making changes happen, and promised to ensure the Met will have "all the support from central government they need" to deliver more trust, less crime and higher standards. 

She also confirmed that the Home Office is reviewing the police dismissals process. 

Baroness Casey's damning report identified misogyny, racism, and homophobia in the Met and has called into question how the force can recover public trust, and what reforms are needed to improve it.

The report was commissioned by the Met to investigate the force's culture and standards after PC Wayne Couzens abducted, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard in south London in 2021.

Detailing numerous case studies of sexual assaults on female staff and examples of excessive use of stop and search powers against black people, the report identifies “systemic and fundamental” problems in how the Met is run.

Specialist firearms units such as the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection and Specialist Firearms Commands were identified as harbouring some of the “worst cultures, behaviours and practices”.

On her trip to Rwanda at the weekend, the home secretary suggested she could make it easier for police forces to sack officers who are corrupt, misogynistic or racist by changing the law if necessary.

Braverman began her statement in the Commons by thanking Met police officers for tackling crime in the capital, but described the Casey report as "very concerning reading".

"It's clear that there have been serious failures of culture, leadership, and standards within the Metropolitan Police," she said.

"The report underlines the fact that the Met faces a long road to recovery, improvements must be made as swiftly as possible. But some of the huge challenges for the organisation may take years to finally address.

"I will be holding the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London to account by measuring their progress.

"I asked Londoners to judge Sir Mark and the Mayor of London not on their words, but on their actions to stamp out racist, misogynistic and homophobic behaviour."

Calling for police across the country to focus on "common sense policing", she said she has "every confidence" that Rowley would deliver on maintaining high standards in the force.

Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said he "absolutely accepts" the findings of the report but has refused to use the term “institutionally racist” and instead told ITV’s GMB that the report shows the Met has “hundreds of toxic individuals that need sorting out”.

Rowley claimed the Met is removing officers accused of misconduct at a faster rate than ever before, and told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the public should see progress “month by month, quarter by quarter and certainly after a couple of years” with the changes he is going to put in place.

However, chair of the women and equalities committee Caroline Nokes suggested the breakup of the Met could be “almost an inevitability now” and Baroness Casey said that it might need to be disbanded if the deep-rooted problems faced by the Met cannot be fixed under the new leadership of Rowley.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told BBC Breakfast that trust in the police has been “hugely damaged” by the string of misconduct scandals and the new report. 

Responding in the Commons, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper accused Braverman's statement of being "dangerously complacent".

"Astonishingly, there is no new action set out in her response," Cooper said. 

"Simply words, saying that the Met must change. This is a continuation of the hands-off Home Office response."

The Labour frontbench MP asked Braverman to implement a national action plan to improve public protection, after the report found a lack of proper public protection arrangements for women and children while prosecutions for rape and domestic abuse have decreased.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said in a statement that the “scale of change required is vast” and that a Labour government would lead on police reform. 

“For 13 years there has been a void of leadership from the Home Office, which has seen Britain’s policing fall far below the standards the public have the right to expect,” he said.

“The home secretary must reassure the public that she will do what it takes to address these failings immediately.”

Starmer will hold a press conference with Cooper on Tuesday to set out more details on their party's response.

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