With Accusations Against the Home Secretary: How the Met Police Lost the Confidence of the British People

Murad Jandali | a year ago




Scandals and racist crimes continue to haunt the London Metropolitan Police and return each time to reveal the extent of these shameful acts in the depth of the British security apparatus.

An independent review accused the Met Police of racism and prejudice against women, saying that about half of Londoners do not trust them, especially after the city witnessed incidents related to the bad performance of police officers during the past two years.

The London Police Commissioner did not object to the results of the evaluation, which was headed by the House of Lords member Louise Casey, but the Commissioner considered that what came in the evaluation were individual cases, while the British government urged to address the causes and make recommendations.

This report comes after a series of punitive measures and reforms launched by the British authorities to address the large number of complaints against police service abuses.

The service also witnessed many resignations in its ranks, the most prominent of which was its president, Cressida Dick, in February 2022.

In the latest incidents, the hashtag #MetPolice was issued on social media, where the British expressed their disappointment in the Home Office’s handling of the Met Police’s racism and sexism.


Series of Scandals

In March 2021, the city of London was shaken by the kidnapping and murder of young Sarah Everard, whose body was then discovered in the Kent region.

Police investigations then led to the fact that the perpetrator was a member of the London police, Wayne Couzens, who took the victim under the pretext of violating the quarantine, then raped her, killed her, and hid her body.

In the aftermath of Sarah Everard’s crime, criticism came against the London police for covering up the misconduct of its members.

In February 2022, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, directed harsh criticism at the head of police in his city, as he said that he was not satisfied with the response of the Met Police Commissioner after he informed her of the need to make extensive changes in the device, and demanded an independent review of the Met Police Service in the wake of his successive scandals.

Following the criticism, Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick announced her resignation, even though it was she who ordered the independent review in 2021.

On January 16, David Carrick, a Met Police officer, pleaded guilty to 49 offenses against 12 women over a period of 18 years, including 24 counts of rape.

Carrick had a history of sexual misconduct, just like Couzens, who was subjected to multiple complaints before and during his 20-year police career, to no avail.

In a recent statement on March 21, 2023, Sadiq Khan said the review’s Baroness Louise Casey had found overwhelming evidence of institutionalized racism and misogyny; Casey also described the London police as resistant to change and unwilling to engage with societies.

According to what was published by The Guardian, the review report, consisting of 363 pages, revealed that the majority of rape incidents that occur within the police force or through its elements are buried and hidden without being investigated, pointing out that 12% of female police workers confirmed that they were subjected to repeated violations by senior officers during work, while a third of female workers faced sexual discrimination.

The report indicated that residents of the capital of African descent are more vulnerable to arrest, search, and discrimination than others.

Casey said that her report warns of the collapse of people’s trust in the Met Police, noting that 50% of Londoners no longer trust it even before the scandals that its workers sparked during the past two years, considering that the culprit in all the racist and discriminatory problems that affected the police are the former police commanders who condoned the existence of these abuses.

In October 2022, Baroness Casey said that 1,809 police officers had more than one complaint of various violations, in addition to the fact that 500 of them have faced between 3 and 5 complaints since 2013 without being held accountable or following up on these complaints.

These numbers indicated the record of scandals of the Met Police, including those for which the two policemen, Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis, were imprisoned after they photographed the bodies of two victims they were investigating and posted the photos, along with racist jokes, among their networks of friends on WhatsApp.


Racist Behavior

In the same context, Baroness Casey revealed in her recent review that the London police refused to describe putting pork in the shoes of a Muslim police officer and cutting the beard of his Sikh colleague as racist behavior and contented itself with describing it as pranks and banter, according to The Telegraph.

The report detailed how one black officer, who worked for the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection (PaDP) guarding a building, was referred to by his colleagues as a gate monkey, which he said he took as a racial slur.

One senior officer described how he was asked in a meeting last year: “Did you get to where you got because you are black?”

A black female officer described how she had been on patrol with a more senior officer when they intercepted a white female member of the public buying drugs from a black person.

She said the senior officer had called the white woman a negro lover, a slag, and a dirty woman.

The report found that black officers are less likely to receive promotions and 81% more likely to find themselves in a misconduct program, while white officers are still disproportionately stronger in the service in an increasingly diverse capital.

In turn, Police Commissioner Mark Rowley, the highest-ranking officer in Britain, refused to generalize the problems mentioned in Casey’s review to the 47,000-strong police force as a whole, describing it as a political characterization of the crisis, pointing out that he requested more time to study the results of the report before publishing it, but his request was not approved.

Rowley, who has been in office since September 2022, acknowledged the existence of members of the police who hate women and practice racism against people of African descent and others, but the existence of these does not mean that the largest security force in the country is in this way, and what the institution needs today is to address the reasons for the existence of such violations and to deal decisively with the perpetrators.


Problems without Fixes

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stressed the need to take the findings of the report into consideration, emphasizing the need for reforms at the level of leadership and work culture in the police force.

Sunak said in an interview with the BBC that he trusts the current police commissioner and believes that he is working hard to address the problems referred to in the report even before its release.

Sunak avoided directly answering a question about whether his daughter trusts the Met Police when she goes out of the house, pointing out that the trust of Londoners in general in the police has been damaged as a result of the scandals that have been revealed over the past few years, which enhances the credibility of the report and creates an urgent need to deal with the problems it raised with great speed and seriousness.

In a statement that did not include details of the new action that the Home Office would take in response to the report, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “People should not face a threat from the police responsible for their protection.”

She said the government would support Rowley’s work to change racist and discriminatory behavior.

She added, “Those who are not fit to wear police uniforms must be prevented from joining the ranks of the officers, and where they are detected, they must be expelled directly from the police force.”

Despite her endorsement of the report’s findings, Braverman expressed great sympathy for the families of the Met Police officers, who found in the report a kind of veiled accusation against their sons and daughters of racism and discrimination, pointing out that the ranks of the police are not devoid of those who practice their work with high professional, ethical and human standards, and they deserve thanks and praise for it.

In turn, the opposition Labor Party blamed the Conservative government for the police crises.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told the House of Commons that police work has faltered almost everywhere in Britain, while government plans to fix the problems mentioned in the report are absent, and everyone knows it beforehand.

Cooper also called for all police officers facing charges of domestic violence and sexual assault to be suspended from duty and criticized Braverman for her negligent and indifferent response.

Cooper criticized Braverman’s statement and her response, saying, It is surprising that the Home Secretary has not announced a new measure in this context, which contradicts the constant talk about the need to change the work system in the Met Police.

Human rights organizations considered the report a human rights victory, especially for women, stressing that the police institution in the capital is involved in racist practices committed by individuals and officers who feel safe under the current regime.

The co-founder of the human rights organization Restoring Street Safety, Jamie Klingler, said that the problem of racism and discrimination in the Met Police is rooted and reflects the reality of the institution as a whole and not individual cases as some try to market the matter, considering that the report put points on the letters in this regard, and there is no longer any escape from addressing the crisis quickly.

Klingler said that the report comes as no surprise to anyone, especially those in charge of the Met Police, considering that what the country needs is the need for everyone to realize that tolerance for perpetrators of discrimination and racism against women and other races should not continue, even if they are among the heroes among the ranks of the security guards.

The researcher and journalist specializing in British internal affairs, Danny Shaw, said in a report published by The Spectator newspaper that the most prominent recommendations of the report are that if the police are not purged from abuses, this institution must be dismantled and transformed into small units that can easily deal with its shortcomings.