The Metropolitan Police is institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic, findings of a review into Britain’s biggest force, the Met.
The founding of The Metropolitan Police by Sir Robert Peel in 1829 was a watershed moment in the history of law enforcement in London. For over a century, it has been celebrated as a model of public service, upholding the values of fairness, justice, and protection for all citizens. However, as the recent report by Louise Casey has revealed, the Met’s legacy is now tarnished by a dark reality of institutional racism, misogyny, and homophobia. This damning indictment has shaken the very foundations of this once-proud institution and raised serious questions about the role of the police in our society.
The report by Dame Louise Casey has unveiled a disquieting reality: a force marred by institutional racism, misogyny, and homophobia. The 363-page document is a veritable Pandora’s box, unleashing a torrent of disturbing revelations that threaten to undermine the very foundations of the Met’s credibility.
The report’s findings are a stain on the reputation of the Met, which has hitherto been considered the gold standard of law enforcement. The sheer volume of testimonies detailing sexual assaults, harassment, and sexism is enough to make one’s blood run cold. With 12% of women in the Met reporting harassment or attacks at work, and one-third experiencing sexism, it is clear that the force is plagued by a culture of impunity and disdain for its female employees.
The Met’s racism, too, is a matter of grave concern. The institution’s failure to adequately address the issue, coupled with its complicity in perpetuating it, is a shocking indictment of its commitment to equality and justice. How can the public trust a police force that not only turns a blind eye to racism within its ranks but actively fosters an environment where it can thrive?
Casey revealed that one Muslim officer had bacon stuffed in his boots, a Sikh officer had his beard cut, minority ethnic officers were much more likely to be disciplined or leave, and Britain’s biggest force remains disproportionately white, in a capital that is increasingly diverse.
Lady Casey said that the lifeblood of British policing was haemorrhaging and her report warned that “public consent is broken” with just 50% of the public expressing confidence, even before revelations about the force’s worst recent scandals.
She pinned the primary blame on its past leadership and said: “Public respect has fallen to a low point. Londoners who do not have confidence in the Met outnumber those who do, and these measures have been lower amongst black Londoners for years.
“The Met has yet to free itself of institutional racism. Public consent is broken. The Met has become unanchored from the Peelian principle of policing by consent set out when it was established.”
The report found a bullying culture, frontline officers demoralised and feeling let down by their leaders, and discrimination “baked into the system”.
Casey said austerity had deprived the Met of £700m but the cuts made by the force left its protection of children and women as inadequate.
Casey’s 363-page report details how both Wayne Couzens, who murdered Everard, and the serial rapist David Carrick were spawned by Met errors and toxic cultures in the force.
Despite clues, to their danger, both were given a gun, passed vetting and served in the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, which Casey said should be “effectively disbanded”.
She found officers making offensive remarks about rape and racially abusing a black colleague using the term “gate monkey”.
Already crushingly low convictions of rapists were made worse by fridges that housed rape kits being broken, or being so full that evidence was lost, and cases dropped with rapists going free because of police bungles. Casey claimed in one instance someone ruined a fridge full of evidence by leaving their lunchbox in it.
Female officer ‘repeatedly raped by colleague’ tried to take own life
The review said it met a policewoman who was a “victim of domestic and sexual abuse“, allegedly at the hands of a fellow Met officer.
The woman – referred to as officer A – said it was “an open secret on their team but few people wanted to speak up”.
She said the abuse escalated and the other officer – referred to as X – raped her on a number of occasions.
Describing “the worst and final incident”, she said: “He smacked me round the face, I lost consciousness, he raped me. I had a black eye, a split lip.”
Officer A told the review that she and X remained on the same team despite her pleas to her supervisors for them to be separated, without revealing the reason.
The case was passed between six different investigators in the Met’s misconduct system in a year, with the officer being asked to give her account of what had happened each time.
She said: “I was getting so angry and so frustrated with them and I decided I couldn’t do it any more, I’m done, I need to get on with my life, I was in an absolute state.
“I had tried to kill myself that year because of the police investigation, it was draining the life out of me.”
After two years of investigation, no action was taken.
Perhaps most disheartening of all is the Met’s entrenched homophobia. In an age where the gay community has made significant strides towards acceptance and equality, it is appalling that such a prominent institution remains a hotbed of prejudice and discrimination. The Met’s flagrant disregard for the rights and dignity of its guy officers is a disgraceful testament to its enduring insensitivity and ignorance.
In the final analysis, the Casey report is a damning indictment of the Metropolitan Police’s abject failure to live up to its own lofty ideals. It is a sobering reminder that, in the pursuit of justice, one must be ever vigilant against the insidious forces of prejudice and discrimination. The Met’s unholy trinity of racism, misogyny, and homophobia is a cancer that must be excised if the force is to regain its once-vaunted status as a paragon of law and order.
Casey also said the Met should accept it is institutionally corrupt, as branded in 2021 by the official inquiry into the murder of the private eye Daniel Morgan, which the Met rejected.
The report said cultures of “blindness, arrogance and prejudice” are prevalent, and Casey added: “The Met can now no longer presume that it has the permission of the people of London to police them. The loss of this crucial principle of policing by consent would be catastrophic. We must make sure it is not irreversible.”
She added: “It is rot when you treat Londoners in a racist and unacceptable fashion. That is rotten.”
Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour party, said: “The racist, sexist and homophobic abuses of power that have run rife in the Metropolitan police have shattered the trust that Britain’s policing relies on and let victims down.
“For 13 years there has been a void of leadership from the Home Office, which has seen Britain’s policing fall far below the standards the public have the right to expect.”
Home Office officials insist they have put police reform measures in place. Suella Braverman, the home secretary – who with Khan appointed the commissioner, backed Rowley: “It is clear that there have been serious failures of culture and leadership in the Metropolitan police.
“I will continue to hold the commissioner to account to deliver a wholesale change in the force’s culture.”
Harriet Wistrich, of the Centre for Women’s Justice, said Casey’s findings were “without precedent in its unswerving criticism of a corrupt, institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic police force”.
She said the two government inquiries after the Couzens scandal should be given greater powers and placed on a statutory footing.
The Casey report has laid bare the festering underbelly of the Metropolitan Police – a putrid cesspool of bigotry and abuse that has been allowed to fester unchecked for far too long. The question that now arises is whether the Met can salvage its reputation and regain the public’s trust. The road to redemption will be long and arduous, but it is a journey that must be undertaken if the force is to emerge from the shadows of its sordid past.
It is incumbent upon the Met’s leadership to take swift and decisive action to root out the rot that has infested the institution. A thorough overhaul of its policies and practices is urgently needed, as is a genuine commitment to transparency and accountability. The time for platitudes and empty promises has long since passed; the Met must now prove that it is worthy of the public’s faith and respect.
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