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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Jamie Grierson

Met has ‘nowhere to hide’ after damning Casey report, say campaigners

Women’s rights campaigners have warned the damning Casey report into culture at the Met has left the force with “nowhere to hide”.

Dame Louise Casey’s 300-page report found institutional misogyny, racism and homophobia persists within Britain’s biggest police force.

The report was commissioned by the Met in the wake of the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by the serving police officer Wayne Couzens.

Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “This damning report leaves the Met nowhere to hide when it comes to the depth of its problems with institutional misogyny, racism and homophobia.

“There is however a long history of such revelations about the Met – including on undercover policing stretching back to the 1980s and beyond, to the findings of the Macpherson report, and numerous police inspectorate reports since – we demand that today’s report finally initiates a tangible shift in the operation of policing in the UK. If not now, then when and at what cost?”

Simon said that “words can only go so far”, adding “many women and girls rely on the police when seeking safety and justice, and we will be looking to the government to see what concrete actions they take to transform their experiences”.

Jamie Klingler, co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, a social justice organisation which successfully brought a legal challenge against the force over its handling of a planned vigil for Everard, said: “The report speaks volumes and the volume is too loud for the Met to hide from.

“The report removes any possibility of the discussion being about if the cultural issues are systemic. The Met is racist, sexist and homophobic, no more whataboutery, no more talk of bad apples. This is root and branch.”

She added: “That teams trying to get justice for women are dealing with faulty fridges overflowing with samples from rape victims while spending fortunes arming a subsection of the DPP unit within the force that just happens to be housing rapists like Carrick and Couzens is a despicable choice made by the Met leadership.”

The family of Jack Taylor, one of serial killer Stephen Port’s victims, called for a public inquiry into the Metropolitan police.

Taylor’s sisters Donna and Jenny Taylor said an inquiry was needed to understand “how and why this force is failing people so badly”.

In December 2021, inquest jurors found that “fundamental failures” by the police left Port free to carry out a series of murders, as well as drug and sexually assault more than a dozen other men in Barking, east London.

“Someone needs to take responsibility for tackling issues such as homophobia, someone needs to own it,” the Taylors said.

“Not one person has. We still feel that if Jack had been a girl the whole situation would have been dealt with differently from the start.

“You can’t put it right and change the culture if you don’t know what’s going wrong, why it’s going wrong, or fail to fully investigate the root of the problems.”

Louise Casey arriving at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre for the press briefing of her review on 20 March.
Louise Casey arriving at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre for the press briefing of her review on 20 March. Photograph: WPA/Getty Images

The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, said: “The evidence is damning.

“Baroness Casey has found institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia, which I accept. She has described the Met as defensive, resistant to change and unwilling to engage with communities.”

He said he would be “unflinching” in holding new Met police commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, to account.

“I want to assure Londoners that I’ll be unflinching in my resolve to support and hold the new commissioner to account as he works to overhaul the force,” he said.

“The Met has many committed, professional police officers and staff who want to be part of this change.

“I see police reform as a critical part of my mayoralty and I will not be satisfied until Londoners have the police service they deserve – one that is trusted, representative and delivers the highest possible service to every community in our city as we work to build a safer London for everyone.”

The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, laid the blame for the report’s findings at the feet of the Home Office, saying the department had a “void of leadership”.

“The racist, sexist and homophobic abuses of power that have run rife in the Metropolitan police have shattered the trust that Britain’s policing relies on and let victims down,” he said.

“For 13 years there has been a void of leadership from the Home Office, which has seen Britain’s policing fall far below the standards the public have the right to expect.

“The scale of change required is vast. But the lessons I witnessed from policing reform in Northern Ireland show that it can be done.”

Jodie Beck, policy and campaigns officer at Liberty, said: “It’s shocking that even as more and more horrific stories are breaking about the conduct of serving officers, far from stripping away the powers that make these abuses possible, the government continues to hand even greater powers to the police.

“It’s deeply concerning that the current political thinking across the board appears to prioritise increased police powers, when we know that the powers of the police are so broad that they will always be open to abuse.”

Ken Marsh, chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: “I think it is a bit disingenuous to say there could be another David Carrick or Wayne Couzens in the Met police.

“I don’t think we will see another person like that in the police.”

He added: “We absolutely accept the findings but we have to be a little bit careful here. Are we saying every Met police officer is racist and homophobic? That is quite dangerous.

“Met colleagues are on their knees. We have a broken force, they are just leaving in their droves.

“It is quite scary what we are creating here. The punishing of police just does not stop. The new commissioner has made a vow to change what is going on and is changing what is going on.”

• This article was amended on 21 March 2023 because Ken Marsh is chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, not the national Police Federation as an earlier version implied.

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