Yesterday (17th October 2022) saw the publication of Louise Casey’s interim report into the current misconduct system in the Metropolitan Police Service. The report unearthed profound flaws in policing culture and practice within the Metropolitan Police.
The allegations looked at in the report were initiated by Met staff, officers, or their families, not the general public. The report points to a culture of misogyny and racism, evidencing repeated failings to hold police accountable for misconduct.
Some of the key findings include:
- The Met takes too long to resolve allegations of misconduct, leaving officers frustrated.
- Officers and staff do not believe that action will be taken when concerns around conduct are raised. 55-60% of allegations made by Met officers, staff, or their family receive a “no case to answer”/“unsubstantiated” decision, higher than the national average.
- Misconduct allegations relating to sexual misconduct and other discriminatory behaviour are even less likely to result in a ‘case to answer’ decision.
- The Met is not clear about what constitutes gross misconduct and what will be done about it. In a survey within a basic command unit looking at the scale and extent of sexism and misogyny, 47% of female employees who responded said they had experienced sexism and misogyny in the last six months.
- The Met does not fully support or resource local Professional Standards Units (PSUs) to enable them to deal with misconduct effectively
The report states that “...many officers and staff in the Met … conclude that discriminatory behaviour is in fact not a breach of professional standards and adds to the sense that ‘anything goes’.”
The report also shows the racial disparity throughout the Met’s misconduct system. In the most recent financial year, Black officers and staff were 81% more likely to receive a misconduct allegation than their White colleagues, Asian officers/staff were 55% more likely and Mixed Ethnicity officers/staff 41% more likely.
Rape Crisis England & Wales were particularly concerned to read that the misconduct process does not find and discipline officers with repeated or patterns of unacceptable behaviour. The report cites a shocking case study of an officer with 11 separate misconduct cases, with allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sex-based discrimination, and abuse of power. It is reprehensible that police officers are using their positions of power to abuse those they are paid to protect and can seemingly do so with impunity.
Amelia Handy, Policy Lead at Rape Crisis England and Wales comments:
"The Casey report highlights some of the gravest issues in policing, which are of enormous significance to women and girls, to victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse, and to racially minoritised communities.
The report provides insight and data into just how deep-rooted misogyny, sexist and racist discrimination within policing is, as well as how professional standards are rendered meaningless by a working culture that overlooks or dismisses serious allegations, and by processes that are poorly understood or not implemented correctly.
It is only with the most serious of reckonings that real change can occur within the Met, and across other police forces where these issues exist.
In the coming few days, weeks, and months, a series of reports from different agencies and bodies will be published, all scrutinising police processes and culture. This has to be a pivotal moment, that must ultimately result in a radical cultural transformation within policing. Thousands of victims and survivors trying to access justice depend on it."
Read more about the changes needed in the justice system by reading our joint report 'The Decriminalisation of Rape.'