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21 Mar, 2023 13:16

London police ‘institutionally racist’ – report

Mayor Sadiq Khan says the independent review marks one of the Met Police’s ‘darkest days’
London police ‘institutionally racist’ – report

Public confidence in London’s police has been eroded, according to the findings of an official report which detailed pervasive racism, misogyny and homophobia in the Metropolitan force.

“The Met has yet to free itself of institutional racism,” wrote British government official Baroness Louise Casey in the 363-page document, released on Tuesday. The report was commissioned by the Metropolitan Police in the wake of the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens in March 2021.

“Public consent is broken,” added Casey, who found that just 50% of the public had expressed confidence in the police force’s ability to effectively safeguard people in the British capital.

The report also details a widespread bullying culture within police ranks, a situation which has led to a loss of trust in the force’s leadership by rank and file officers. A Muslim officer had bacon put into his boots by another officer, the report said, while a Sikh officer had his beard cut against his will. Casey also found that 12% of female police officers had been harassed by fellow staff while on duty. Around one-third of female officers reported experiencing sexism on the job.

Casey highlighted the case involving Wayne Couzens, as well as that of David Carrick, a serial rapist who was employed by the force, as examples of the Met’s inability to police itself. Both Couzens and Carrick had passed police vetting procedures and had been issued with firearms.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the findings mark “one of the darkest days in the 200-year history” of the Metropolitan Police.

“We police by consent in our country,” Khan told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday. “If the public has no confidence in the police they’re not going to come forward to report a crime. It’s in all of our interests to make sure that the police service changes, root and branch.” 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the report makes clear that a “change in culture and leadership” is required, echoing calls made by his Home Secretary, Suella Braverman.

In his own reaction to the report, the force’s commissioner Mark Rowley said that while he accepted Casey’s findings of “systemic failings”, he rejected the claim that the issues within the force are “institutional”, saying that the term is “ambiguous and politicized.”