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The Met Police must embrace reform to survive

The Met Police must embrace reform to survive


3 min read

The Casey Review speaks volumes and the volume is far too loud for the Met Police to hide from; but the commissioner Mark Rowley is giving it the good old college try.

He has accepted Baroness Casey’s damning findings but refuses to use the word institutional (although doesn’t mind systemic). Conditionally accepting the findings is not good enough.

An organisation is institutionally sexist when: it prioritises funding and arming a white (94 per cent) male (93 per cent) Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection (PaDP) unit over replacing “over-stuffed, dilapidated or broken fridges and freezers containing evidence including the rape kits of victims”. Stephen House, the former acting commissioner, said the bulk of rapes are “regretful sex” to the very women tasked with researching why the rape conviction rate is so pitifully low. And domestic violence and violence against women and girls is routinely put at the bottom of pile and not considered serious crime.

No wonder they can’t define gross misconduct, they cannot define good conduct either

When an organisation is found to be institutionally racist in 1999 and is having the same debate 30 years later, it’s clear there is an institutional problem. The organisation did not use the McPherson report to root out the racism in the force and instead is now faced with deep multi-generational distrust, particularly from the Black community. The report found Black communities in London to be overpoliced and underserved. This is not news.

Casey documents many instances of homophobia, ableism and disability prejudice. The full house of bad behaviour and incompetence if you may. 

This is Cressida Dick’s legacy. A force under special measures, a force that had infamous predators Wayne Couzens and David Carrick serving simultaneously in the PaDP whilst Dick refused to admit that there was anything institutionally wrong. Somehow an email from Dick to the entire force titled “Enough is Enough” about officer conduct was not nearly enough – imagine that.

Whilst my organisation, Reclaim These Streets, fought the Met to have a vigil for Sarah Everard, I kept hoping a grown up was going to step in and say: “Do we really want to be doing this?  Does this serve a purpose?” Apparently that option does not exist. Those that are not “yes men” are weeded out (like bad apples). 

HR is outsourced, there is no learning and development or set standards for promotion or sacking. No wonder they can’t define gross misconduct, they cannot define good conduct either.  Newbie PCs are given no training, no support, and a dangerous role with abuse from the public and internal bullying. This is tripled if you are from a black or ethnic minority community. Black police officers are 81 per cent are more likely to be subject of disciplinary action. The review finds that racism and racial bias are reinforced within Met systems, which under-protects and over-polices Black Londoners. Just ask Chris Kaba’s family, the unarmed man killed last year by Met Police officers.

The review is more than 350 pages of horror. The only little bits of hope come from Operation Bluestone Soltaria, a programme to increase the number of rape cases reaching court. And Operation Signa, built on the feedback of women in the Met to increase confidence of reporting sexual harassment and unacceptable conduct

The report recommends that the Met should bring in new specialist expertise from outside to demand and assist in reforming the Met in permanent rather than advisory roles, and I am publicly throwing my hat in the ring. 

The only way the Met can possibly survive is opening itself up to its biggest critics, and I count myself among that number. If they want a yes woman, that is not me, but if they are actually committed to change, let’s talk. But I stand by the fact that this is an institutional problem.

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