UNITED KINGDOM: Baroness Lousie Casey has condemned the Metropolitan Police Force (the Met) as an institution rife with ‘racism, sexism and homophobia’, and ‘unable to police itself’. The scathing castigation concludes a 13-month investigation into the Met’s workplace culture, standards of behaviour, and capability to maintain law and order.
The Met commissioned Baroness Casey to conduct the independent review after public outcry in the wake of the kidnap, rape, and murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met Constable Wayne Couzens. Baroness Casey confirmed in an accompanying press notice that Mrs. Everard’s murder had ‘shattered public confidence in the force’.
In the interim of the report’s conclusion, the Met had been under heavy public and political scrutiny following a string of high-profile offences by serving officers.
The sheer incompetence of the Met’s internal governance system was perhaps laid its barest after it was revealed that Met Officer David Carrick, jailed after admission of twenty-four counts of rape, had been investigated on nine separate occasions for sexual assault.
Mr. Carrick's twenty-year career only ended after an October 2021 report that triggered the ninth internal investigation against him was eventually made public. Over ‘300 witness statements and around 3-4,000 pages of evidence’ were submitted during the 14-month investigation.
Baroness Casey stated that despite the violence of Mr. Carrick and Mr. Couzens' crimes, they were not symptomatic of ‘the actions of ‘bad apple’ officers’ but ‘consequences of the corporate failure’ of the Met.
A staggering one-in-every-forty five Met Officers had sexual or domestic abuse claims made against them in the last ten years - 1633 claims against 1071 officers and staff.
Such damning statistical evidence, in addition to a multitude of recent high-profile public scandals, prompted Baroness Casey to categorically state that ‘policing by consent in the capital is broken’.
Response across the Met to the findings has been mixed. West Mercia Police Chief Pippa Mills vowed, in response to Baroness Casey’s findings, to ‘root out corruption’. Chief Mills stated that the ‘appalling’ findings must ‘become the catalyst for a drive for overall police reform’.
The recently appointed Commissioner of Police, Sir Mark Rowley, condemned the actions of the racist, homophobic, and misogynistic Officers within the Met but refused to condemn the entirety of the institution. Baroness Casey placed the blame on the internal intimidation tactics and refusal of outside criticism of previous Commissioner of Police, Dame Lynne Cressida Dick.
The Casey report does, however, reflect what many Londoners accept as their reality. According to a YouGov survey, one-in-five young Londoners don’t trust the Met under any circumstances. A record high 49% of all Londoners were found to distrust the Met, rising to 55% amongst ethnic minorities in the city.
Met support amongst Black Londoners was also revealed to be at an all-time low. Baroness Casey concluded that decades of scandals and mistreatment involving Black Londoners and the Met, such as the shooting of Cherry Groce, have resulted in extreme distrust of the Met within the community.
Baroness Casey’s findings have cemented Black Londoners’ opinions of the Met into hard truths.
The report also found that Black Londoners are disproportionately targeted by ‘stop and search’ tactics, eroding community-Met relations - a claim Baroness Casey states is ‘repeatedly confirmed in reports and research’.
In the wake of reform, parallels have been drawn to the Scarman report over thirty years prior. Lord Scarman was commissioned by the Met to conduct an independent investigation after the ferocity of the 1981 Brixton riots seemingly caught the institution by surprise.
Scarman concluded that unjust treatment of Black Londoners by the Met, citing a disproportionate number of ‘stop and searches’ exacerbated tensions in the area.
Ten years later, the Macphearson inquiry, set up after the murder of Stehpen Lawrence at the hands of white youths in 1993, also concluded that the Met were ‘institutionally racist’.
Unsurprisingly, Assistant Editor at the Mirror, Darren Lewis echoed the sentiment of many Black Londoners after the Casey report was published:
“Now will they listen to what Black and Brown people have been saying for decades?”
Concluding her report, Baroness Casey outlined that rebuilding the public’s trust in the Met would be an uphill battle.“It is fixable”, said Baroness Casey, “if the Met recognises the true scale of the challenge in front of it, with drastic and effective action”.
The scale of Met corruption and the universal reform that must follow will, in light of the Met’s previous corrective measures, weigh heavily on the minds of Londoners.
Edited by: Alanna Fullerton
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