Met Police: Criminal officers should be ‘immediately removed’ City Hall says

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“Too many disturbing scandals involving the force have eroded trust and confidence in the police.”

Police officers who break the law or are “proven unfit” to serve should face immediate removal, a City Hall report has said.

Mayor Sadiq Khan should ask the home secretary to allow for the “immediate removal” of officers serving in the Met Police, following a string of misogyny and racism scandals.

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The report, from the London Assembly police and crime committee, has called on the mayor to push for a change in the rules which prevent police officers being immediately dismissed.

Officers work for the Crown, rather than directly for the force, and normal employment rules, including on dismissals, even if a serious offence has been committed, do not apply to them.

Chairman Susan Hall AM, said: “The Met Police and its thousands of dedicated officers do vital work to keep Londoners safe.

“But too many disturbing scandals involving the force have eroded trust and confidence in the police among Londoners and the mayor must act to address this.”

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Met Police commissioner Mark Rowley and mayor Sadiq Khan. Met Police commissioner Mark Rowley and mayor Sadiq Khan.
Met Police commissioner Mark Rowley and mayor Sadiq Khan.

But the report also says conduct cases are “unnecessarily taken forward” to disciplinary panels and says the Home Office should “review the threshold” in order to decrease this.

It comes after the Met has been rocked by scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard, the strip-search of Child Q, and officers caught exchanging highly offensive messages.

In response, the City Hall committee launched an investigation into the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and how police complaints are handled.

Their report said: “There is a highly fraught relationship between Met officers and the IOPC.

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“Accusations and disagreements between both parties risk further eroding trust in both the Met and the conduct and complaints system.”

Susan Hall, City Hall Conservative group leader and chairman of the policing committee. Photo: London AssemblySusan Hall, City Hall Conservative group leader and chairman of the policing committee. Photo: London Assembly
Susan Hall, City Hall Conservative group leader and chairman of the policing committee. Photo: London Assembly

Published today, the committee has also recommended that:

  • The Met should develop a new communications strategy to respond to the increasing “prevalence of footage of policing incidents being shared on social media”;
  • And media guidance on IOPC investigations should be issued to senior officers.

Ms Hall added: “[We are] concerned the police complaints system is further damaging the public’s perception of the police and Baroness Louise Casey’s recent review supports this.

“Our investigation found it to be a frustratingly slow and complicated system of lengthy investigations causing real pain for victims, complainants and officers.

“The highly fraught relationship between Met officers and the IOPC is unlikely to be helping matters and we hope they will work collaboratively in implementing the recommendations.”

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She continued: “The thousands of dedicated officers in the force are entitled to a clear, transparent and effective conduct and complaints system that delivers for Londoners.

“The Mayor and government should take forward our recommendations as soon as possible.”

Police officers form a cordon as well-wishers gather at a vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard. Photo: GettyPolice officers form a cordon as well-wishers gather at a vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard. Photo: Getty
Police officers form a cordon as well-wishers gather at a vigil in honour of murder victim Sarah Everard. Photo: Getty

A spokesperson for the mayor of London said: “The mayor has led the way in ensuring the Met is now on a path of far-reaching systematic and cultural reform, with the new commissioner acknowledging the scale of the problems within the Met and taking action to address them.

“The mayor has also asked the home secretary to take urgent action to reform police regulations governing misconduct to help raise standards in the police, and he has been clear that the police need more power over misconduct processes, which is so vital to restoring the trust and confidence of Londoners.

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“Sadiq will continue to make the case for this and hold the Met to account so that progress is made. This must include rooting out all police officers found to be responsible for unacceptable behaviour, such as sexism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, bullying or harassment.

“The mayor has also been clear that, following the recent Baroness Casey review, the Met has to make urgent changes to fix its existing misconduct system, which is simply not fit for purpose.

“That is why he is committed to making sure the Met implements every single recommendation of this review and that all future misconduct allegations are acted upon quickly and cases are resolved much faster.

“The Mayor is doing everything he can to support Sir Mark and he has welcomed the Met’s new anti-corruption and abuse unit, which is working to clean up the force.”

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Met Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said: "Integrity is the foundation of policing. People rightly expect us to uphold the highest standards.

“Yet our organisation is being undermined by corrupting behaviours that have gone unchallenged and have been allowed to multiply.

"While the focus of this report is on misconduct, it tells a serious story about our culture. We need to radically overhaul how our organisation is set up, and instil our values in everything we do.”

An IOPC spokesperson said: “We note the committee’s recommendations, which we will carefully consider and respond to in due course.”