The police watchdog is probing a former officer’s bombshell claims that police slept with women - including suspects - at Charing Cross police station, LondonWorld can reveal.
Cops at the West End station called black officers “monkeys” and one had sex with an arrested woman, amid a “toxic” culture dating back to 2006, a former constable has alleged.
The ex-officer told LondonWorld of a “awful” atmosphere at Charing Cross police station and claimed male cops had “sex with females” in rest rooms, “mercilessly bullied” a colleague and made “cruel and sexual comments” about women on the street - while senior leaders were “silent”.
And now the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), has said it will look into the shocking allegations.
Commissioner Cressida Dick has been placed “on notice” by London mayor Sadiq Khan - and told she has “days and weeks, not months” to fix the under-fire force’s culture problem.
It follows a torrid year for the Met which has been hit by a string of scandals, following the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens and the conviction of two cops for taking photos of the bodies of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry.
Now a string of further allegations dating back 10 years prior to the IOPC’s investigation, from 2016 to 2019, has emerged, placing more pressure on the embattled commissioner.
Speaking to LondonWorld, the former officer, who asked to be identified by her first name Liz, said she worked at Charing Cross station in the 2000s, after graduating from Hendon Police College.
She said: “It really was awful - toxic at worst. There is no exaggeration.”
Now a writer living in Perth, Australia, Liz said behaviour she witnessed from constables and sergeants during the two years she was a constable there included:
- “Walking in on male officers having sex with females in rest room/pool room. At least one of these females was someone they had arrested.”
- “Walking past other offices and seeing police staff/police officers having sex. Waiting until police staff had gone home so they wouldn’t be ‘disturbed’.”
- “Mercilessly bullying an obviously autistic PCSO. Mindf***ing him to the point where he thought it was all part of him being part of ‘the team’.”
- “Countless propositioning from male colleagues.”
- “As the only female in my team, a night out at the Spearmint Rhino strip club where the sergeant brags about having ‘his favourite Russian girl’.”
- Sitting in a carrier vehicle on Whitehall and the male contingent cruelly or sexually commenting on every female that went past.”
- “Referring to black officers as ‘monkeys’ and saying they better smile at night or we won’t see them.”
She said her reaction to the behaviour was “that it was wrong” but she did not know who to report it to, due to the “silence” from bosses, and feared being ostracised by colleagues.
“[I knew] I should say something but to who?” she said.
“[My reaction was] that I would be unsupported by colleagues in a job that depends on others if you face difficulty on patrol.”
“Senior leadership were silent - you never saw them.
“Inspectors were usually pretty absent… behaviour was overlooked.”
And she felt the station’s location, in the heart of London, contributed to the atmosphere.
“It was like kids in a candy store, surrounded by bars, pubs and party culture,” she said.
“Intoxicated people and aggressive people the guys can use machismo on… drunk women half undressed to focus ‘help’ on - it’s ego feeding.”
While Liz, who left the station after just two years and moved boroughs, before later leaving the force altogether and moving out of the UK, said the IOPC report was “no shock at all”.
She said: “It’s just a shock that 14 years later the same behaviour is happening.
“I worked at other stations in London, but Charing Cross was by far and away the loosest, racist, sexist one by far.
“It totally affected how I felt about the police.
“At its worst, it puts uneducated and emotionally unintelligent people with a toolbox of weapons and powers that can change someone’s life forever.
“It made me realise how entitled these people were.”
A spokesperson for the IOPC said: “We would encourage the former officer to contact us so that we can assess how these allegations could be progressed.
“Details of how to contact us and our report line for police officers and staff are available on our website at: https://policeconduct.gov.uk/who-we-are/contact-us.
“In line with procedure a decision on whether to investigate would first require a referral from the force.”
Liz has confirmed to LondonWorld she will be contacting the IOPC.
While Det Ch Supt Owain Richards, responsible for local policing in central London, said: "The Met has already taken considerable steps to improve leadership and standards which included a complete overhaul of our local policing service in 2018.
"Last year we further strengthened local leadership teams by introducing a new chief inspector who is based at Charing Cross police station and is charged with driving a step change in culture and professional standards.
"While this is not the same Met it was a decade ago, I recognise we still have a lot of work to do to gain back the trust and confidence of Londoners.
“That is why the Commissioner has asked Baroness Casey of Blackstock to carry out an independent review which I hope will lead to lasting change across the organisation."
Are you a current or former Met police officer or victim of crime in London? You can speak to us about your experiences in the strictest of confidentiality. Email senior reporter Jessica Frank-Keyes on [email protected]