Scotland Yard ‘institutionally racist, sexist and broken’, says review

London: Scotland Yard is institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic and the London public are being let down by a force that no longer has a functioning neighbourhood policing service, a damning report concluded on Tuesday.

In an excoriating review that echoes the 1999 Macpherson report into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, Baroness Louise Casey of Blackstock said the Metropolitan Police, Britain’s biggest force, has lost the trust and confidence of the people it was supposed to keep safe.

The New Scotland Yard headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in London.Credit:Bloomberg

She warned that policing by consent in the capital was “broken”, and suggested a “complete overhaul” of the force was needed or else it risked having to be broken up.

Reacting to the findings, Home Secretary Suella Braverman, said there had been “serious failures of culture and leadership” in the Met. The report found a concerning fall in the number of officers employed in frontline policing and revealed that almost a third of bobbies on the beat had less than two years’ experience.

More than half of women in London said they no longer trusted the Met to keep women and girls safe, and one serving officer told the review that rape detection rates were so low “you may as well say it is legal in London”.

The report found the force was struggling to embed proper behaviour among officers, and Casey said the Met could no longer be trusted to police itself. The review concluded recruitment and vetting systems were poor and failed to guard against those who sought power in order to abuse it.

She warned there could be another Wayne Couzens, who is serving a whole-life term for the murder of Sarah Everard, or David Carrick, who is serving a life term for 24 rapes, hiding in the ranks.

She concluded that, 24 years after the watershed Macpherson report, the Met remained institutionally racist.

However, she went further saying the force was also institutionally sexist, misogynistic and homophobic.

“Do I think that they should say they are institutionally racist? Yes, I do. Do I think they should say they are institutionally sexist? Yes, I know they are. Do I think they should say they are institutionally homophobic? Yes, I do.”

Flowers placed in tribute to Sarah Everard on Clapham Common in London in 2021.Credit:Getty Images

She warned the Met that it must “wake up” and take the findings seriously and said “the institutional defensiveness and denial in this closed order of policing really needs to change in the 21st century”.

Casey also said: “The Met can now no longer presume that it has the permission of the people of London to police them. The loss of this crucial principle of policing by consent would be catastrophic. We must make sure it is not irreversible.”

Speaking ahead of the release of the report, Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner, apologised for the numerous failings and said the report sparked feelings of “anger and shame”.

But he added that while he accepted there was racism, misogyny and homophobia in the force, he would not use the term “institutional” because the term was ambiguous and political.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley speaks to the media outside New Scotland Yard David Carrick was jailed in February.Credit:PA/AP

Braverman said: “It is clear that there have been serious failures of culture and leadership in the Metropolitan Police, which is why the commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has been taking action to restore confidence in policing in London.

“I will continue to hold the commissioner to account to deliver a wholesale change in the force’s culture.

“There is much more to do and the task of rooting out unfit officers means that further unacceptable cases will come to light.

“We shouldn’t, however, overlook the many officers working in the Met who carry out their duties with the utmost professionalism and who have been let down by the failures of others.”

The 363-page report has numerous examples of racism, misogyny and perpetrated by serving officers. Casey, who was commissioned to carry out the review in the wake of the kidnap, rape and murder of Everard, says the force had not done enough to root out predatory sex offenders in the ranks.

“It is not our job as the public to keep ourselves safe from the police. It is the police’s job to keep us safe as the public.

“Far too many Londoners have now lost faith in policing to do that.”

The report also described how the Met was failing to get the basics right with evidence in rape cases sometimes lost because the fridges and freezers used to store them were dilapidated or broken.

In another case a female officer was branded a liar after reporting one of her colleagues for sexually assaulting her.

The report found that violence against women and girls had not been taken as seriously as other forms of violence and said women and children were being let down. In one example of racism in the force, a female black officer described how a senior officer used the N-word when arresting someone.

The Telegraph, London

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