Baroness Casey urged to stop ‘ongoing sniping’ at Met Police commissioner

Baroness Casey - Kirsty O'Connor/Pool via AP
Baroness Casey - Kirsty O'Connor/Pool via AP

Suella Braverman’s allies have urged the author of a damning review of the Metropolitan Police to stop “sniping” at its commissioner.

The Home Secretary defended Sir Mark Rowley after his force was rocked last week when Baroness Casey published a report highlighting racist, homophobic and misogynistic behaviour among serving officers and staff in Britain’s biggest police force.

The report explored how a toxic culture of blame sought to pin responsibility for the widespread and “institutionalised” behaviour on “bad apples” with a “strong tendency to look for a positive spin”.

In an interview with The Times newspaper on Saturday, she said that Sir Mark, who took over as Met commissioner in September, was “light years away” from the force’s previous leadership.

However, she voiced disappointment that he had refused to use the term “institutional racism” following the publication of the report. In the interview, she dismissed his argument for not using it because it was an ambiguous and political term, saying this was a “get out of jail card”.

She said that nearly 25 years after the Macpherson report used the term following the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, discrimination was still “baked into the system”.

“Doreen Lawrence lost her son 30 years ago,” she said. “It was a racist murder. Why can’t you give Doreen Lawrence that? Why? And then his wings would fly, everybody would be under him. And he will be able to go forward in a very, very different way.”

She added that Sir Mark “potentially has missed his moment and I worry for him and I worry for that”.

However, a source close to the Home Secretary hit back at Lady Casey on Saturday and said: “Sir Mark Rowley is a hugely experienced police leader with a common sense approach to reform.

“He is exactly the commissioner the Met needs today. We thank Louise Casey for her report but ongoing sniping helps no one. She has done her job and must now allow Sir Mark to do his.”

Lady Casey was appointed to review the Met’s culture and standards after the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens, in 2021.

During the course of her review, another Met officer, David Carrick, was convicted of a series of rapes, sexual offences and torture of women.

Rape cases dropped after evidence freezer broke

The report said the force failed to protect the public from officers who abuse women and Lady Casey said she could not rule out more officers like Couzens and Carrick being in the Met’s ranks.

Teams responsible for dealing with domestic abuse were understaffed, overworked and lacking in experience despite cases doubling in 10 years, it said.

The report also highlighted a case last year where rape cases were dropped because a freezer containing important evidence broke.

Almost one in five Met employees surveyed said they had personally experienced homophobia, while one Sikh officer had his beard trimmed and a Muslim officer found bacon in his boots.