Met Police report reaction LIVE: Britain’s biggest force faces ‘long road to recovery’, says Suella Braverman after Casey review
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said the Met police faces a “long road to recovery” following the publication of a damning report that found the force is institutionally sexist, racist and homophobic
Speaking to MPs on Tuesday, Ms Braverman said Baroness Louise Casey’s report makes for “very concerning reading”.
“It’s clear that there have been serious failures of culture, leadership, and standards within the Metropolitan Police,” she said.
Baroness Casey’s report, released on Tuesday, denounced a catalogue of failings at Scotland Yard infecting every level of the force.
The landmark report was commissioned in the wake of the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the Met must “seize the opportunity to fundamentally change its culture” and called for reform to policing “as a whole”.
Interim director Tom Whiting said: “We will work with police and others to identify how the system can be reformed and what needs to be done to make it happen.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the report was “one of the darkest days” in the history of the almost 200-year-old Met Police service.
Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the force still had “toxic individuals” but he vowed they were being “rooted out” of the organisation.
“We have racists, misogynists and homophobes in the organisation. We have systemic failings, management failings and cultural failings,” he said, while adding that he was “embarrassed” by the report.
Follow the latest updates below
Full report: Met police force ‘institutionally sexist, racist and homophobic’
Evidence in rape cases was destroyed after fridge broke down
Met chief accepts report’s diagnosis but not ‘institutional’ term
What does the report say?
08:15 , Miriam Burrell
Baroness Dame Louise Casey found the Met to be riddled with bullying and poor leadership in the most damning report in the force’s history.
She warned that problems are so severe that there could be other officers as bad as Sarah Everard‘s killer Wayne Couzens, and his serial rapist colleague David Carrick, still within the Met’s ranks.
She highlighted incidents including dildos being put in coffee mugs, bags of urine thrown at cars, and ethnic minority officers being ridiculed and talked down to as examples of misconduct within the Met.
Rape victims were also being failed with forensic samples taken from them stored in fridges so full that three officers were required to close them and the evidence being ruined through contamination.
Read more about the report’s findings here.
Rishi Sunak says trust in Met Police ‘hugely damaged’
08:26 , Miriam Burrell
Trust in the Metropolitan Police has been “hugely damaged” by the scandals involving its officers, the Prime Minister said following the release of the report.
Rishi Sunak told BBC Breakfast: “I want both my daughters to grow up in a society which not only do they have real trust in the police, it’s just fundamentally safe.
“It’s not just in London, across the country we’ve changed the guidance for police forces, for how they vet new police officers.
“Those are all things that will help give people confidence.”
Read more of the Prime Minister’s response here.
Met chief: We are ‘rooting out’ the ‘toxic individuals'
08:34 , Miriam Burrell
Sir Mark Rowley, the head of the Metropolitan Police, said he was “upset, embarrassed and humbled” when reading the report.
“We’ve got toxic individuals”, he added, saying there are “concerns about their predatory behaviour”.
“We’ve got people suspended. We’ve got people under investigation. We are rooting them out of this organisation.”
Read more on his reaction here.
"Baroness Casey's report sparks feelings of shame and anger - but it also increases our resolve.
“We have let people down, I am sorry.”
"It must be a catalyst for police reform."
- Sir Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police Commissioner
🔽🧵 Thread pic.twitter.com/INibJtxLZp
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) March 21, 2023
Rape cases dropped after freezer with evidence broke
08:46 , Miriam Burrell
Rape cases being investigated by Met detectives had to be dropped because a freezer holding vital evidence broke down, the report said.
One officer who worked on the Sapphire team, which investigates rape and other sexual offences, told how freezers containing evidence were so packed that it took three officers to shut them.
She claimed that countless rape kits with evidence were spoiled by the way in which they were stored.
Met Police have ‘shattered trust’ and ‘let victims down’, Labour says
08:51 , Miriam Burrell
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the abuses of power that have “run rife” in the Met have “shattered the trust” that Britain’s policing relies on.
He said victims have been “let down” as he urged the Home Secretary to “reassure the public” that she will address the failings “immediately”.
I want to thank Baroness Casey for her report which is tough but essential reading.
The scale of change required is vast, but as I witnessed in Northern Ireland, it can be done.
My Labour government will lead police reform. pic.twitter.com/bvTMCqaHo5
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) March 21, 2023
The shocking cases of racism, sexism and homophobia
09:05 , Miriam Burrell
The Standard looked at some of the key case studies and examples highlighted by Baroness Casey in the 300-page report.
They include gay officers being targeted, people being urinated on in the shower and bacon being left in a Muslim officer’s boots.
Sexual assault cases not ‘treated properly’, Baroness Casey says
09:09 , Miriam Burrell
Baroness Louise Casey said she does not have full confidence that the Metropolitan Police would treat a report of rape or sexual assault properly.
Asked if she would report a rape or sexual assault to the Met, she told Times Radio: “So, as a woman, I think it’s absolutely important that when we are assaulted, we always, always make sure it’s recorded.”
Asked if she has confidence the force would treat it properly, she said: “No, I don’t have full confidence that they would treat it properly.
“I know that’s a terrible thing to say, but that’s the biggest thing that they have to change. It still means we should come forward.”
Mother of murdered black teen says ‘last chance’ for Met
09:56 , Miriam Burrell
The mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence has warned “This is the last chance for the Metropolitan Police to get it right”.
Baroness Doreen Lawrence said it has never been a case of a “few bad apples” and the Met is “rotten to the core”.
“Since my son’s death and the recognition of institutional racism by Sir William Macpherson, the force has had almost 30 years to put its house in order. It has not done so, either because it does not want to or it does not know how to.
“I suspect a lot of people will feel, like me, that enough is enough and change is needed. And needed now.”
Read more from Doreen Lawrence here.
‘This must be a watershed moment’ for Met leadership, IOPC says
10:23 , Miriam Burrell
The police watchdog has said today’s report “must be a watershed moment for the leadership of the Metropolitan Police”.
IOPC interim Director General Tom Whiting said: “The Met must learn and reflect on Baroness Casey’s stark findings - and seize this opportunity to fundamentally change its culture.
“The Met cannot do this alone. There is a need for fundamental reform to policing as a whole to improve standards, root out wrongdoers, deal with poor performance, and support police officers to be the best they can be.
“At the IOPC, as the police complaints watchdog we will continue to hold policing to account, and use learning from our work to highlight where improvements are needed.”
‘See it. Say it. Ignore it.'
10:28 , Miriam Burrell
A feminist political party have covered the capital in posters mocking the Metropolitan Police in the wake of Baroness Casey’s report.
They depict a police officer grabbing a woman from behind while other officers laugh with each other under the caption: “See it. Say it. Ignore it” a twist on the British Transport Police slogan “See it. Say it. Sorted”.
The Women’s Equality Party posters appeared at train stations across the capital on Tuesday.
Read what Leader Mandu Reid said about the campaign.
‘Morale is plummeting’ among Met staff
10:46 , Miriam Burrell
The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents more than 30,000 officers, said “morale is plummeting” among staff.
Following the release of Baroness Casey’s report, a spokesperson said officers are “traumatised by the constant attacks to their proud profession”.
The federation claimed “tens of thousands” of police officers “are being gravely let down by a small number of individuals”.
“Any reform of the police must not come at the expense of due process for officers pending or subject to conduct procedures,” the spokesperson added.
The report found that London is being failed by an institutionally sexist, racist and homophobic police force, rather than individuals.
Sadiq Khan ‘passing the buck instead of doing his job'
10:54 , Miriam Burrell
Susan Hall AM, leader of the City Hall Conservatives, has criticised the Mayor of London following Baroness Casey’s damning report into the culture of the Met Police.
“Sadiq Khan has been asleep at the wheel for seven years, passing the buck instead of doing his job as London’s police and crime commissioner,” she said.
“If the Met Police is to regain Londoners’ trust, it needs a Mayor willing to lead and take responsibility for it.”
Caroline Russell AM, of the Green Party, said Londoners have been put last, adding: “All of us are watching”.
Firearms teams get ‘any toy they want’, Baroness Casey says
11:02 , Miriam Burrell
The Met deprioritised teams dealing with rape and abuse of women while firearms officers got “any toy” they wanted, Baroness Casey has said.
She told BBC Radio 4 how she sat across from a senior murder detective who told her that if a woman was raped and killed, the case would be prioritised, but if a woman was raped and left in a coma, she would be dealt with by “hard-working but dilapidated” protection teams.
Baroness Casey said: “How on Earth did we get to this situation where meanwhile, back in the firearms command, back in New Scotland Yard, resources are a-plenty.
“Their use of consultancy budget, their use of contractors. The fact that the guys that hold the firearms, get any toy, frankly, they want at all. That sounds brutal, but it is true.”
Read more of her comments here.
Report must be ‘catalyst for fundamental changes’, victims’ commissioner says
12:06 , Miriam Burrell
London’s victims’ commissioner Claire Waxman said: “I’ve heard first-hand accounts from victims across our city’s diverse communities about the appalling experiences they have suffered at the hands of the Met.
“From rape victims being victim blamed, to victims from black and ethnic minority communities feeling unrepresented and unsupported, to LGBTQ+ communities having their reports routinely dismissed.
“It’s simply unacceptable and this report must now be a catalyst for the fundamental changes needed to radically improve the culture and systems in the Met.”
Who is Baroness Casey?
12:49 , Miriam Burrell
Baroness Louise Casey was appointed to lead the independent review into the Metropolitan Police following the murder of Sarah Everard in 2021.
Baroness Casey is a government official working in social welfare. She grew up near Portsmouth and graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London with a degree in history.
The 57-year-old was also appointed to review the circumstances and prepare a report on the spectator invasion of Wembley Stadium, London, in July 2021.
Home Secretary: ‘I will make sure the Met has support’
13:16 , Miriam Burrell
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the Metropolitan Police “faces a long road to recovery” following Baroness Casey’s report.
Making a statement in the Commons, she said: “I will ensure that the Metropolitan Police have all the support from central government they need to deliver on Sir Mark’s pledge of more trust, less crime and high standards.
“Every officer in the force needs to be part of making these changes happen.”
She said the Government has “taken steps to ensure that forces are tackling weaknesses in their vetting systems”.
“I ask Londoners to judge Sir Mark and the Mayor of London not on their words but on their actions to stamp out racist, misogynistic and homophobic behaviour.”
Home Office has ‘hands-off response’, Labour says
13:20 , Miriam Burrell
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has condemned Suella Braverman’s “dangerously complacent” response to the Casey review.
“Astonishingly there is no new action set out in her response, simply words saying that the Met must change. This is a continuation of the hands-off Home Office response that Baroness Casey criticises in her report,” she told the Commons.
“Some of the issues raised are particular to the Met because of its size, history, particular culture, where the Home Secretary and Mayor are jointly responsible for oversight and where the commissioner is responsible for delivering.
“But the report also raises serious wider issues for the Home Office.”
London MP: Abolish the Met after Casey report
13:38 , Josh Salisbury
The Metropolitan Police should be abolished, a London Conservative MP has said.
Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, told the Commons: “The immediate political acceptance of Baroness Casey's report demonstrates that nothing has changed since the publication of the Macpherson Report 24 years ago and many think the report in itself is a panacea to change.
“Does the Home Secretary not agree with me it'd be more effective to abolish the Metropolitan Police Service, transfer the specialist operations to the remit of the Home Office and establish a police service for London to focus solely on the maintenance of law and order?"
Ms Braverman replied: “I don't agree that we must abolish the Metropolitan Police Service.
“I think we need to institute a wide-ranging and profound programme of reform and that's why I think Sir Mark is absolutely right in his turnaround plan, which deals with specifically the systemic problems, the problems now which are unfortunately not new but of which we are all aware need root-and-branch reform."
Fridge containing rape case evidence ‘breaking down’ is ‘shocking and unacceptable'
13:50 , Josh Salisbury
Claims in the report of a refrigerator containing rape case evidence breaking down while in the Met Police's care are “shocking and unacceptable", the Home Secretary has said.
The comments came in response to questions in he Commons by Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Catherine West.
She told the Commons: “How can it be that an individual who is raped and the advice is to keep the specimens in a refrigerator, and during a hot spell last summer the refrigerators broke down and there was no back up plan - how can that be? What is she going to do to every victim whose evidence was in that refrigerator?”
Suella Braverman replied: “That particular incident which to which she refers is shocking and unacceptable and must not happen... that must not happen again."
Misogyny finding ‘important but not new’ says campaign group
15:12 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Campaign group Police Spies Out Of Lives, that represents women who were deceived into sexual relationships with undercover officers, said that finding of institutional misogyny is “important but not new”.
Evidence heard so far in the public inquiry into undercover policing points to “more than 50 years of sexist abuse of women by its covert officers”, the group said.
A culture of allowing members of an armed unit, MO19, to bend and break rules was “all too familiar”.
A spokeswoman said: “We’ve been calling out institutionalised sexism in the Met for years and whilst we hope the Casey Review will be a catalyst for change, at the same time the government is legislating for the police to have more powers.
“New laws criminalising protest and limiting people’s right to assembly must be reviewed in light of the damning criticisms in this report. Police powers need checking, not expanding.”
Corbyn calls for increased stop and search powers to be removed
15:23 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Jeremy Corbyn has urged the Home Secretary to remove increased powers of stop and search from the Public Order Bill until Met Police officers “reform their ways”.
The former Labour leader, who now sits as an Independent MP in Islington North, told the Commons Baroness Casey’s report “makes it very clear...that black London is disproportionately likely to be stopped and searched by the Metropolitan Police”.
“It also calls for fundamental change in that whole policy,” he said.
“Will [the Home Secretary] explain how the Public Order Bill, which gives the police increased powers of stop and search during protests or demonstrations fits with the recommendations made by Baroness Casey?
“And will she suspend the operation of that section of the Public Order Bill until such time as the police have been able to reform their ways on disproportionate stopping and searching of black Londoners?”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman replied: “As Baroness Casey herself makes clear, the majority of Londoners support the use, the appropriate use of stop and search.
“As Sir Mark has made clear stop and search is a vital tool in keeping Londoners safe and saving lives. 350 to 400 Knives are seized per month, thanks to stop and search, and that’s why I emphatically support the appropriate use of stop and search as a way to keep everyone safe.”
‘Families of bereaved must fight tooth and nail for information from Met’ - lawyer
16:06 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
A London lawyer who specialises in cases of police misconduct - and those where people die after interaction with the police - has branded the way grieving families are treated by the Met “unacceptable”.
Daniel Machover, head of civil litigation at Hickman & Rose, said: “The families of people who have died following police contact often have to fight tooth and nail to be given the barest of facts about the events that led to their loved one’s death. This is unacceptable.
“Baroness Casey said that a cultural shift is required for the Met to become a reflective and learning organisation which opens its doors and invites criticism, examination, challenge and assurance. This urgent change is long overdue.”
Live coverage draws to a close
16:23 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Here ends the Standard’s live blog for today.
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