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Fact Check: Hundreds of Met officers should be sacked for misconduct, says new commissioner

By Steve Heldon

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undreds of Met Police officers should be sacked for misconduct and the force’s internal disciplinary system is racist and misogynist, a major new report has warned.

The report, authored by Baroness Louise Casey, said that officers in the force were getting away with breaking the law.

She said: “We have heard repeatedly from colleagues that they feel and believe and actually have given us case examples of where people are getting away both with misconduct but also criminal behaviour.”

Repeat misconduct offenders have also remained in post, with only 13 out of 1,809 officers and staff with more than one case against them since 2013 being sacked.

The report found 1,263 were involved in two or more cases, more than 500 were involved in three to five, and 41 were involved in six or more – the highest number being 19.

New Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said he was appalled by the findings and apologised to officers and members of the public who had been let down.

He said the number of officers and staff being sacked each year, between around 30 and 50, was “massively under-engineered”, and he estimated there are hundreds of officers in the Met who should be kicked out of the force.

“You have to come to the conclusion there must be hundreds of people that shouldn’t be here, who should be thrown out,” Sir Mark said.

“There must be hundreds who are behaving disgracefully, undermining our integrity and need ejecting.”

Dame Louise said her findings have to be a “line in the sand” moment.

The Met is so unclear about what constitutes gross misconduct that repeated incidents of sexual misconduct towards colleagues would not result in an officer being sacked, she found.

“There are moments when I have looked at the cases with people I’ve listened to and I have wondered what exactly would constitute gross misconduct in order to get them out of the force,” she wrote.

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Dame Louise was brought in to look at misconduct procedures and the culture within the Metropolitan Police after the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer, and a series of scandals around disturbing messages shared by officers on WhatsApp.

In a letter to Sir Mark, she said: “The misconduct system is not delivering in a way that you, I, your officers or the public would expect it to.

“Cases are taking too long to resolve, allegations are more likely to be dismissed than acted upon, the burden on those raising concerns is too heavy, and there is racial disparity across the system, with white officers dealt with less harshly than black or Asian officers.”

In her report, she wrote:

– The Met takes too long to resolve misconduct cases, on average 400 days but nearly 20 per cent take more than two years.

– Between 55 per cent and 60 per cent of misconduct allegations result in a finding of no case to answer, higher than the national average of 46 per cent, and supervisors warn staff against taking misconduct action.

– Fewer cases involving discrimination (20 per cent) and sexual misconduct (29 per cent) end with a case to answer decision, compared to 33 per cent of all cases. The report found this adds to a sense that discriminatory behaviour is not a breach of standards and a sense that “anything goes”.

– Officers and staff who have faced repeated misconduct claims are not properly disciplined. Between 2013 and 2022, 20 per cent were repeat offenders having been involved in two or more cases, but less than 1 per cent had been sacked.

– Many misconduct cases are dealt with by overstretched local units without proper training.

– The force is unclear about what constitutes gross misconduct, with the bar set too high.

– There is racial discrimination in the conduct system, with black officers and staff 81 per cent more likely than their white colleagues to have cases brought against them in 2021/22, while Asian officers were 55 per cent more likely.

– A rule, regulation 13, that allows probationers to be kicked off the force is not being used properly or fairly. Only 8 per cent of cases in 2021/22 resulted in dismissal, and black officers are 126 per cent more likely to be subject to a regulation 13 case than white, with Asian officers 123 per cent more likely.

Responding to the findings in a letter to Dame Louise, Sir Mark said the “the disproportionate way in which you have showed us black and Asian officers and staff have been treated shows patterns of unacceptable discrimination that clearly amount to systemic bias”.

“The fact that allegations of racism or sexual misconduct and misogyny have less chance of being upheld is also completely unacceptable. Furthermore, it is clear that the Met’s systems and processes don’t support the right outcomes,” he wrote.

“You uncover painful experiences from those within our ranks who have suffered discrimination and hate from colleagues, only to have their hurt compounded by a weak response from the organisation. This cannot continue.

“I am sorry to those we have let down: both the public and our honest and dedicated officers. The public deserves a better Met, and so do our good people who strive every day to make a positive difference to Londoners.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the situation at the Met was worse than he had feared.

He said: “The majority of those serving in the Met will be appalled by these latest findings and the decent officers who want to speak out – who have clearly been let down for far too long – must be properly supported.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “Culture and standards in the police must improve. And where an officer has fallen seriously short of these expectations, demonstrable, public action must be taken.”

A full report on the culture within the Met will be published in the new year.

Source: Healthy Duck.