Hundreds of corrupt officers could face dismissal as Met Police ‘cleans up’ workforce
Almost 100 officers have been moved away from crime squads to help investigate internal standards in the force
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Commissioner Sir Mark Rowly believes there are hundreds of corrupt officers currently serving who should not be in the job.
Sir Mark said the work to clean up the workforce was so urgent that around 90 officers have now been diverted from fighting serious and organised crime to the Met’s Directorate for Professional Standards (DPS).
It comes after the Metropolitan Police was branded institutionally racist, homophobic and misogynist in a damning report following a series of scandals in recent years, including the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer and ex-Pc David Carrick being unmasked as a serial abuser and rapist.
In an open letter to Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the commissioner said: “Not only have we increased our DPS by 150 people, but the scale and urgency of this work has meant diverting officers from other missions such as serious and organised crime and counter terrorism.
“Over the last three months we have had, on average, 90 additional officers and staff from these areas supporting DPS. The shared determination has been seen through the excess of volunteers. We have taken this decision because we cannot succeed in any policing mission unless we resolve these issues as urgently as possible.”
The Met is now carrying out a series of reviews in a bid to weed out wrongdoing among staff. More than 1,000 records where officers and staff were accused of domestic violence or sexual offences in the past 10 years have now been checked to make sure the right decision was taken.
Of the 1,131 individuals whose cases were reviewed, 246 will see no further action; 689 will have their case reassessed; and 196 will be referred into formal risk management measures and may have their vetting status reviewed, Sir Mark said. Each of the cases will also be reviewed by an external panel.
Additionally, the commissioner is considering tightening the rules around officers and staff with criminal convictions to ban anyone prosecuted for anything other than “the most trivial matters” or offences committed under the age of 18.
A total of 161 Met officers have criminal convictions, 76 for serious traffic offences including drink driving and careless driving. Another 49 have convictions for crimes of dishonesty or violence – eight of whom committed the offences while they were police officers and remain serving with the force. Other crimes include drug possession, criminal damage and public order offences, and three serving officers have convictions for sexual offences.
Sir Mark said the figures were “troubling reading” and it is hoped the immediate measure will remove those who undermine the culture of the force, with longer term plans including leadership training and better support for frontline officers designed to address wider cultural problems. He said: “The most urgent thing is to, if you like, remove the cancer from the body and that’s what this is about, that first step.”
All 50,000 employees of the Met are also being checked against the police national database, which is used for intelligence. Of the 10,000 records checked so far, 38 cases of potential misconduct have been found and 55 where there is an off-duty association with a criminal. The remainder of the records are due to have been checked by the summer.
Vetting rules have already been tightened and in the coming months, more than 100 individuals are expected to have their status reviewed, Sir Mark said. He added that there have been 1,000 calls to a hotline allowing the public to report Met officers abusing their positions of trust. These have resulted in 350 reports that are being responded to and have already led to officers being arrested and suspended from duty. Of the 34,000-strong Met workforce, 701 officers are currently on restricted duties.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “The Met plays a unique role in keeping millions of Londoners safe and protecting the country from terrorism, so it is crucial the public has confidence in the force to carry out these duties with the utmost professionalism. I have been clear that a relentless focus on improving standards and common sense policing is required.
“Sir Mark’s update on the work to root out unfit officers demonstrates the scale of this challenge but I have confidence in his plan to turn around the Met and ensure the force is delivering for the public. I am also driving forward work to review the police dismissals process to ensure the system is effective at removing officers who fall below the standards we expect.”