Baroness Louise Casey DBE CB has published her independent review into the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service. The review was commissioned in the aftermath of the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met PC Wayne Couzens in March 2021.
The review found, ‘Widespread bullying, discrimination, institutional homophobia, misogyny and racism, and other unacceptable behaviours which are a far cry from the high ethical standards the public rightly expects of its police officers.’ The review team based its findings on evidence drawn from a wide range of officers, staff and others, as well as data extracted from the Met’s own systems.
Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley responded to the 363-page report with an apology. “Baroness Casey’s report sparks feelings of shame and anger – but it also increases our resolve. We’ve let people down, I am sorry. It must be a catalyst for police reform.”
There are many recommendations in the review including disbanding the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection command where ‘Some of the worst cultures, behaviours and practices identified by the review have been found.’ It also recommends creating a new, independent, multidisciplinary team of officers and staff to reform how the Met deals with misconduct cases.
Public trust in the Met has fallen to a low point, says the review. ‘Londoners who do not have confidence in the Met outnumber those who do, and these measures have been lower amongst Black Londoners for years.’ As as result, policing by consent is ‘broken’ and the Met should be reformed to reset this position starting with apologising for past failings and changing its approach to stop and search.
Recognising the Met’s new leadership, the review recommends that permanent specialist advisors should be employed to help them, that greater emphasis should be placed on community engagement and governance changes should take place to ‘Oversee and scrutinise the changes needed and ensure full transparency and accountability to Londoners.’
The review calls for an independent progress review to be carried out in two years and again in five years. If sufficient progress is not being made at these points, the review concludes, ‘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 prioritised.’
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