The condemnation is final: the London police have allowed sexist, racist and homophobic behavior to develop within them, denounces Tuesday March 21 a new independent report, calling for a “general reform” of the institution already in crisis after a series of scandals.
“The police failed to protect their employees or members of the public from police officers who committed domestic violence, nor from those who abused their position for sexual purposes”can we read in the 363-page report published on Tuesday, which also denounces the ill-treatment of officers from minorities.
This report was commissioned after the murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old Londoner who was raped and killed by a police officer, Wayne Couzens, who arrested her on false pretence in 2021. This murder has traumatized the British people.
The « Met Police » – the country’s largest police force with more than 43,000 officers and staff – has been mired in a series of sex scandals and crimes for years, fueling a serious crisis of public confidence.
A “rigorous” investigation
The author of the report, Louise Casey, who calls for a “fundamental change” believes that the investigation is “rigorous, tough and uncompromising”. According to her, violence against women and girls has not “not taken seriously in terms of resources and priorities”.
The long investigation depicts in particular how evidence in rape cases (urine or blood samples for example) could not be exploited after being stored in overloaded refrigerators – sometimes closed with straps – or downright broken down.
Moreover, “despite the presence of a few experienced senior officers, it is an inexperienced and overburdened staff dealing with child protection, rape and serious sexual offences”note Mme Casey.
The Everard case was followed by several other scandals and reports exposing racism and sexism in the London police. Under pressure, Chief Constable Cressida Dick eventually resigned in early 2022.
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The crisis of confidence was further aggravated when David Carrick, a 48-year-old police officer, pleaded guilty in January to 24 rapes and multiple sexual assaults against twelve women between 2003 and 2020. He terrorized his victims by highlighting his functions. The Met then assured that 1,633 cases of alleged sexual assault or domestic violence involving more than a thousand officers and agents over the past ten years would be re-examined.
In the meantime, Ms Casey notes “not being able to ensure” that there are no more criminals like Wayne Couzens and David Carrick in the ranks of the London police. She also points out that women working in the police are “victims of sexism on a daily basis” and that one “deep-rooted homophobia” reigns within the Met.
“The evidence is overwhelming”
“I accept his diagnosis on racism, misogyny and homophobia within the organization, as well as systemic, managerial and cultural failures”reacted the London police chief, Mark Rowley, again apologizing. “The evidence is overwhelming”said London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
This new report comes nearly 25 years after the Macpherson Report, commissioned after the murder of a black teenager, Stephen Lawrence. The document had already concluded in 1999 to a “institutional racism” within the police, causing shock in the United Kingdom.
In October, Ms. Casey, who has held several positions of responsibility within the Ministry of the Interior, had submitted a first report in which she already denounced the laxity of the London police in the face of racism and sexism.