Brian Sims

Report into culture and standards must be “catalyst for police reform”

THE METROPOLITAN Police Service has welcomed a 363-page report into its culture and standards and subsequently called for the document to be a “catalyst for police reform”. The report follows an extensive review conducted by Baroness Casey of Blackstock.

The findings of the report, many of which are critical of the Metropolitan Police Service, will be taken forward to inform and shape an ambitious plan designed to reform and rebuild trust while delivering for Londoners.

Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said: “This report sparks feelings of shame and anger, but it also increases our resolve. I’m proud of our officers and staff whose passion for policing and determination to reform moved them to share their experiences with such honesty. This is, in many ways, their report. It must be a catalyst for police reform.”

Rowley continued: “This report needs to lead to meaningful change. If it only leads to pillory and blame of the exceptional majority of officers, then only the criminals will benefit. We need its contents to galvanise Londoners, the dedicated police majority and politicians to coalesce around reform and the renewal of policing by consent for the 21st Century.”

Catastrophic and criminal incidents

The review was commissioned by the Metropolitan Police Service back in October 2021 following the appalling murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer. Its publication follows on from other catastrophic and criminal incidents involving other officers.

Baroness Casey was asked to examine the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service and to make recommendations on the actions required. Her final report, published on Tuesday 21 March, explores a wide range of issues including the Metropolitan Police Service’s organisation, its support for officers and staff, discrimination, standards, its approach to protecting women and children and, indeed, its wider operational effectiveness.

Sir Mark Rowley explained: “The appalling examples in this report of discrimination, communities and victims of crime being let down and the strain faced by officers on the front line are unacceptable. We have let people down and I repeat the apology I gave in my first weeks to Londoners and our own people in the Metropolitan Police. I am sorry.”

Further, the Commissioner observed: “I want us to be anti-racist, anti-misogynist and anti-homophobic. In fact, I want us to be anti-discrimination of all kinds. There are external factors – among them funding, governance, growing demand and resource pressures that shouldn’t sit with policing – that the report has identified. Baroness Casey is right to identify the impact these factors have exerted on our ability to police London, but there can be no excuses for us. The core of the problems identified in this report are for policing to determinedly confront.”

Turnaround Plan

The Metropolitan Police Service’s Turnaround Plan was intentionally published in draft form in January. This marked the start of a conversation and a programme of meaningful engagement with communities and partners with a revised and final version to be published in the early part of this year.

Baroness Casey’s report will now play a crucial role in shaping those ongoing conversations and help to ensure that the final plan meets the scope and scale of the challenge confronting the Metropolitan Police Service.

Sir Mark Rowley commented: “Our Turnaround Plan is already building momentum across the Metropolitan Police Service. I’m reassured that a number of issues highlighted by Baroness Casey – such as our service to victims, rebuilding neighbourhood policing and how we protect the most vulnerable, for example – are priorities we too had identified. Baroness Casey’s insights, alongside feedback from the public, will greatly influence the next version.”

In conclusion, Rowley noted: “We know that the challenges ahead of us are not simple, but we have tens of thousands of inspiring and hard-working officers and staff and we will be determined and relentless in taking on those challenges. I’m confident we will succeed.”

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