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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

Damning report published on the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service

Damning report published on the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service


Baroness Casey publishes detailed findings of the independent review

Baroness Louise Casey published her final report following an independent review into the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service on 21 March, which identifies systematic problems in how the Met is run, a lack of accountability and scrutiny, and widespread deep-seated discrimination that has become ‘baked into the system’. The final report also details the widespread bullying, institutional homophobia, misogyny and racism, and other unacceptable behaviours within the police force.

The independent review into the Metropolitan Police Service was launched in October 2021, following the sentencing of former Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard. Baroness Casey was tasked with examining the police force’s leadership, recruitment, vetting, training and communications.

The final report highlights ‘serious concerns’ with the culture of two of the Met’s specialist units: the Specialist Firearms Command and the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. Through a combination of visits to the Command, personal accounts from current and former officers and staff, and data analysis, the final report states that it has identified a ‘deeply troubling, toxic culture’ in the Metropolitan Police Service’s Specialist Firearms Command. Officers described the ‘boys club’ like culture, which includes the acceptance of misogyny, racism and ableism in the Command.

Baroness Casey’s report puts forward a series of recommendations to fix the problems identified. It is stated explicitly that it is hoped that ‘the Met – and policing more generally – will accept both the seriousness of the findings evidenced in this Review and the enormity of the reform that must happen next.’ The proposed reforms include: a new, independent, multi-disciplinary team of officers and staff to reform how the Met deals with misconduct cases, with a particular focus on how it deals with sexual misconduct, domestic abuse and discrimination; vetting standards should be changed with immediate effect to guard against those who intend to abuse the powers of a police officer; effectively disband the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in its current form; and all current officers carrying firearms, including those in Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection and Specialist Firearms Commands, should be thoroughly re-vetted and have a new higher vetting and behaviour standard applied to them retrospectively.

The report concludes that ‘If sufficient progress is not being made at the points of further review, 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.’

The report on the interim findings of the review published in October 2022, found that the Met: takes too long to resolve allegations of misconduct; officers and staff do not believe that action will be taken when concerns around conduct are raised; misconduct allegations relating to sexual misconduct and other discriminatory behaviour are less likely to result in a ‘case to answer’ decision; and the misconduct process does not find and discipline officers with repeated or patterns of unacceptable behaviour. At the time, Baroness Casey concluded that the Met’s misconduct system requires “radical and wholesale reform”.