A new report has exposed how the Metropolitan Police deals with wrongdoing within its ranks. Who is the woman holding a mirror up to the Met and what has she found?
“She might be the first female Commissioner of the Met Police, but in the wake of the Sarah Everard case, Cressida Dick knows that her force is under unprecedented pressure to examine its attitude towards women.”ITV News
In Autumn 2021, in the aftermath of the rape, kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer, the woman who was the Met Commissioner made a promise.
Dame Cressida Dick announced there would be a thorough review of the force’s culture. That meant vetting, recruitment, leadership, training – all of it.
And it would go further than just examining misogyny. It would look out for racism, discrimination, and other kinds of misconduct too.
“Baroness Casey of Blackstock will lead our independent review into our standard and culture here in the Met.”Sky News
Louise Casey may not be a household name, but she’s well-known in government.
“If you haven’t heard of Louise what she’s done in government will probably have affected you in some way or another, I think, over the last 15 years.”LBC
Earlier in her career, when she was deputy director of the homelessness charity Shelter, she had a reputation for being an “ambitious, pragmatic worker who got results”.
So it was no surprise when she was recruited by Labour prime minister Tony Blair to lead his rough sleeping taskforce with the aim of reducing the number of people on the streets by two-thirds.
At the time, a handful of ministers wrote a letter to Tony Blair, calling his plan too ambitious. But Louise Casey was determined to succeed.
And, in the end, she delivered ahead of schedule.
Since then, she’s tackled everything from anti-social behaviour to the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal. Here she is speaking to LBC’s Iain Dale.
Iain Dale: “You were a bit of a troublemaker weren’t you, because you you had a public profile which, for a civil servant, was unusual. I mean, okay, you were heading up all of these different things which I suppose inevitably gave you a profile but you were quite a controversial figure…”
Baroness Casey: “Yes, that would be true to say. I think that a lot of the issues that I’ve had to look at and wanted to look at are actually quite often the things that people don’t really want to admit to happening, or they just want to go away, or they think, this is just about spending more money or you know the uncomfortable truth of modern Britain, as it were.”LBC
She might have been seen as a troublemaker, but she also got things done.
And now, she’s holding a mirror up to the Met Police.
The scale of the task facing Louise Casey is enormous. The Metropolitan Police is the UK’s largest force. It has over forty thousand employees and national as well as local responsibilities.
“A new report led by Baroness Louise Casey found that hundreds of police officers who are suspected of serious criminal offences are escaping justice. The new Met Police Commissioner says huge failings meant corrupt officers were kept in the force.”Channel 5 News
This is just an interim report. The full set of findings aren’t due until February 2023.
But it’s already hit a nerve.
Baroness Casey found that the Met seriously mishandled internal investigations ranging from sexual misconduct and misogyny, to racism and homophobia.
One serving officer stayed in his job despite 11 misconduct notices for allegations involving a sexual offence, assault, harassment and fraud.
And to make things worse, officers from ethnic minority backgrounds were significantly more likely to have complaints against them upheld than their white counterparts.
Here’s Sir Mark Rowley, the man who replaced Dame Cressida Dick as Met Commissioner.
“It makes you angry and it brings a tear to your eye to hear some of these stories, and to speak to some colleagues who’ve suffered such racist or misogynist behaviour in the organisation. It’s been badly, badly dealt with.”BBC Radio 4
The evidence may be upsetting, but to many, this won’t come as a shock. The Metropolitan Police has been plagued by accusations of culture problems for decades.
“The public inquiry into the failures of the Metropolitan police to investigate the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence shook the establishment in 1999…”Channel 4
But the last two years seem to have seen an explosion of bad behaviour.
And what Baroness Casey wants to see is real change.
“As somebody that has done reviews, your worst nightmare is when a report just sits on a shelf. I am really hoping that the Metropolitan Police and everybody that supports it sees today’s report as a line in the sand.”BBC Radio 4
This episode was written and mixed by Patricia Clarke, with additional research by Sean Collins.
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