The well-known Metropolitan Police in London are failing and are permeated with racism, sexism and homophobia. That’s the harsh conclusion that government official Louise Casey draws in an independent report. She gives startling examples.
“I have found an organization that is fundamentally failing in its core task.” In an independent report, British government official Louise Casey delivers a 363-page scathing verdict on the Metropolitan Police (Met). She accuses the police, which is primarily responsible for the greater London area, of institutional racism, sexism and homophobia, bullying and corruption. The new police commissioner accepted their findings, but would not speak of “institutional” problems.
The police themselves commissioned Baroness Casey in autumn 2021. Casey is an independent member of the British House of Lords and was supposed to provide an independent opinion on the London Metropolitan Police after the murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard. Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a police officer in March 2021. The case sparked nationwide protests by women demonstrating against police violence under the slogan “Reclaim These Streets”.
London: Confidence in the police is at rock bottom
Sarah Everard isn’t the only victim of delinquent cops. The serial rapist and police officer David Carrick was covered by his colleagues for years, and tips were not taken seriously. The Met itself is investigating 1,633 cases against colleagues and employees for alleged sex offenses and domestic violence. Confidence in the London police is therefore at a low point. This trust urgently needs to be regained, Casey writes in the report: “It’s not our job as a public to protect us from the police. It’s the job of the police to protect us citizens.”
Female employees also have a hard time within the police force. “Police officers and female workers routinely face sexism and misogyny,” the report said. “The Met has not protected its women employees or members of the public from perpetrators in the police force who use domestic violence, nor from those who abuse their position for sexual gain.”
Numerous examples are given in the report. Colleagues who report being touched, bullied and isolated at work. And when they drew attention to questionable behavior, they were subsequently branded as “troublemakers” and ridiculed in college. While the accused police officers often made careers, qualified women were ignored – “it’s your word against his”.
Gay police officer: “I don’t trust my own organization”
According to the report, everyday life is also made difficult for members of minorities. According to the research, a fifth of Met employees report being bullied. It is a third for people with previous illnesses or disabilities, as well as for LGBTQ employees.
A queer police officer wants to remain anonymous. He reports to Louise Casey and her team about homophobic language and Whatsapp groups where those on duty made fun of him. There had been allusions to “specifically search” him. When he addressed the behavior of superiors, he was not taken seriously. He doesn’t trust his own organization, he is quoted as saying in the report that has now been published. A Muslim official is said to have had bacon placed in his boots, and another believer had his beard cut off.
This internal behavior is also evident when working on the street. London’s predominantly white police force takes the non-white population less seriously, the report shows. Black people in particular would be “over-polished” – they are over-controlled, over-arrested and over-represented in many serious crimes. This is one of the reasons why trust in the police is even lower in this part of the population than in all the others.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to tackle problems faster
Sadiq Khan has been Mayor of London since May 2016 and is a Labor Party member. Since the murder of Sarah Everard, he has appointed a new police commissioner and new leadership teams within the police force to address these structural issues. In a statement, he acknowledges the problems described in Louise Casey’s report and wants to make the police a top priority. Casey’s recommendations should be implemented as soon as possible to regain the trust of Londoners, Khan said: “The Met has many dedicated, professional police officers and staff who want to be part of this change. I see police reform as a crucial part of my mayorship and I will not be satisfied until Londoners have the police service they deserve.”
Khan himself installed the new police commissioner Mark Rowley six months ago, who doesn’t want to speak of “institutional” problems, but of “structural” ones. Rowley wants to be able to show results by the end of March, he said in an interview with Sky News: “We have racists, misogynists and homophobes in the organization.” But: “We’ve already suspended people. We’re investigating people. We’re throwing them out.”
For their report, Baroness Casey and her team spoke to former and current staff and police officers, visited offices and attended meetings, and conducted surveys of the London public. Their verdict is similarly devastating. Only 66 percent of people trust the police, compared to around half of marginalized groups. A poll for “PoliticsHome” from late February also shows that at 55 percent, more than half of women in London have ‘little’ or ‘no trust at all’ in the Met.
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I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.