BARONESS CASEY REVIEW: Met Police could harbour more officers like Wayne Couzens and David Carrick
The Metropolitan Police could harbour more officers like killer Wayne Couzens and serial rapist David Carrick, a damning independent report by Baroness Casey has found.
The peer spent a year investigating the Met Police in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by Couzens.
In her report, released today, she concluded the force is institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic and it needs a "complete overhaul," possibly being broken up.
Among a series of recommendations to "fix" the Met, Baroness Casey said the unit that Carrick - who was unmasked as one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders - and Couzens both served in should be "effectively disbanded".
The Metropolitan Police today welcomed the report into its culture and standards and has called for it to be a catalyst for police reform.
The report follows an extensive review by Baroness Casey of Blackstock. Its findings, many of which are very critical of the Met, will be taken forward to inform and shape an ambitious plan to reform and rebuild trust while delivering for Londoners.
Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said: “This report sparks feelings of shame and anger but it also increases our resolve.
“I am proud of those people, our officers and staff, whose passion for policing and determination to reform moved them to share their experiences with such honesty.
“This is, in many ways, their report. It must be a catalyst for police reform.
“This report needs to lead to meaningful change. If it only leads to pillory and blame of the exceptional majority of officers then only criminals will benefit.
“We need it to galvanise Londoners, the dedicated police majority and politicians to coalesce around reform and the renewal of policing by consent for the 21st century.”
The review was commissioned by the Met in October 2021 following the appalling murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer and its publication follows other catastrophic and criminal incidents involving other officers.
Her final report, published today (Tuesday, 21 March), explores a wide range of issues including the Met’s organisation, its support for officers and staff, discrimination, standards, its approach to protecting women and children and its wider operational effectiveness.
Sir Mark added: “The appalling examples in this report of discrimination, the letting down of communities and victims, and the strain faced by the frontline, are unacceptable.
“We have let people down and I repeat the apology I gave in my first weeks to Londoners and our own people in the Met. I am sorry.
“I want us to be anti-racist, anti-misogynist and anti-homophobic. In fact, I want us to be anti-discrimination of all kinds.
“There are external factors – funding, governance, growing demand and resource pressures that shouldn’t sit with policing – that the report has identified. Baroness Casey is right to identify the impact these have had on our ability to police London, but there can be no excuses for us.
“The core of the problems are for policing to determinedly confront.”
The Met’s Turnaround Plan was intentionally published in draft form in January.
It marked the start of a conversation and a programme of meaningful engagement with communities and partners with a revised and final version to be published in late Spring.
Baroness Casey’s report will play a crucial role in shaping those ongoing conversations and will ensure the final plan meets the scope and scale of the challenge we are confronted with.
Sir Mark said: “Our Turnaround Plan is already building momentum across the Met.
“I am reassured that a number of issues highlighted by Baroness Casey – our service to victims, rebuilding neighbourhood policing and how we protect the most vulnerable for example – are priorities we too had identified.
“Baroness Casey’s insights, alongside feedback from the public, will greatly influence the next version.
“We know that the challenges ahead of us are not simple, but we have tens of thousands of inspiring and hard-working officers and staff and we will be determined and relentless in taking them on.
“I am confident we will succeed.”
The Centre for Women's Justice said in a statement: "Baroness Casey’s review of the Metropolitan Police culture is without precedent in its unswerving criticism of a corrupt, institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic police force. We welcome her “no holds barred” approach and determination to go beyond the usual “learning the lessons” we have repeatedly seen with reports and reviews of policing over the years which have changed nothing. We note however that this is an internal review and that more could still emerge if an inquiry with statutory powers were to be established that could hear voices of those that have been failed by the Met.
Baroness Casey confirms a culture which not only tolerates but fosters many of the worst forms of criminal abuse from within its ranks and reveals shocking treatment of forensic evidence gathering in sexual violence investigations. As an organisation that works with victims of male violence and police abuse, the rats’ nest that has been laid to bare provides an explanation for the repeated dreadful stories we hear from the many women who have contacted us. This is not a problem confined to the Metropolitan Police but is prevalent in police forces across the country. It is utterly shameful that women and children have been failed as the report highlights.
Harriet Wistrich Director of Centre for Women’s Justice said, in response to Baroness Casey’s calls for a “complete overhaul” of the Met and a “new approach to restore public trust and confidence”,
“We do not have policing by consent. The only way forward to restore the rule of law is to start re-imagining how policing can serve all citizens. A fundamental problem with policing is the culture of loyalty which militates against self-criticism, against whistle-blowing and allows collusion and silence. Any such process of fundamental reform must involve hearing the voices of survivors and others at the hard edge of the policing and those that support them.
“All the recommendations of the Casey review must be accepted and effectively implemented. Those in leadership within the Met must be held accountable for their implementation. Those politicians responsible for the Met and policing also need to be accountable. There must be regular reviews of the process of implementation to ensure that this work is effective and continuing.
“There needs to be real accountability built into the system for those failing to address the problems and there must be adequate powers to ensure recommendations are followed. Until those issues are addressed, in reality nothing will change.
“We also repeat our call for the Angiolini inquiry to be given statutory powers. Whilst the Casey review is fundamentally damning we may still not know the true extent. How can we know whether the Met have been fully open and provided all relevant evidence and where there has not been a process for whistle-blowers to come forward without fear. The Casey review for all its unstinting critique of the Met will necessarily have gaps in the absence of such powers.”