By Nora Johnson • 30 March 2023 • 9:40
Image Credit: Muhammad_Safuan/ Shutterstock.com
The recent scathing Casey Review of the Metropolitan Police reminds us yet again of the institutional racism at its core. Commissioned by the Home Office in response to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens, Baroness Casey’s report reconfirms that the Met remains institutionally racist, but goes even further.
It also accuses Britain’s biggest police force of being institutionally sexist, misogynistic and homophobic and suggests it could be broken up if it doesn’t improve. For Baroness Doreen Lawrence (mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence) its findings were “no surprise”.
Baroness Casey uncovered evidence of widespread failings, including chronic under-resourcing for tackling crimes against women and children, the collapse of neighbourhood policing and oversight failures which have allowed predatory behaviour to “flourish”. Too many officers found guilty of gross misconduct hide in plain sight and keep their jobs like David Carrick, the prolific sex offender.
So, what can be done? Should the Met be broken up or can it be saved? Breaking it up would be a drastic step, and one unlikely to solve the issues identified. Leaving the job of reforming the Met to the Met itself is plainly unacceptable. The force’s problems are too deep-rooted.
But there is, undoubtedly, an urgent need for reform – the biggest overhaul in policing since the Met was created nearly 200 years ago. Reforms like those that led to the transformation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary to the Police Service of Northern Ireland at the end of the last century.
Now, it may be accurate to describe the Met as the report has done. However, as any company turnaround specialist knows, there are invariably competent and committed people at middle management level. But, as is often the case, it is at the top level where the changes should be made. Not just the person at the top but all those at the very top. In similar circumstances in a business setting, an experienced executive is often seconded from HQ and immediately takes on the responsibilities to turn the company around.
Surely there’s an experienced, competent, successful Chief Constable or ACC in the UK who could be trusted to take on what is an obvious mess in London? Give him or her complete authority, ensure that his or her career is protected whatever the outcome. It’ll need to be someone who can circumvent the inherent political influence of the Mayor and others.
We need a people’s champion, someone who can support the many good policemen and women who are the backbone of the force. Someone who can restore faith in policing. This top-down approach is required in London – and it is required immediately.
But I’ll leave the final words to Baroness Lawrence herself: the Met is still “rotten to the core” and has had “30 years to put its house in order” since her son’s murder but has failed to do, “either because it does not want to or it does not know how to”.
Consequently, I’m sure this latest scandal will run and run – a bit like, I suppose, 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch’s engagements, marriages and divorces…
Nora Johnson’s 11 critically acclaimed psychological crime thrillers (www.nora-johnson.net) all available online including eBooks (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, audiobooks, paperbacks at Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.
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