Met chief urges new officers to ‘confront and challenge’ racism and misogyny

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has urged new officers to “confront and challenge” racist, misogynistic and homophobic behaviour among their colleagues amid a “difficult time” for trust in the force.

Speaking at Hendon Police College in north London, Sir Mark told hundreds of newly qualified officers and detectives that the force was relying on them to help rebuild relations with the public.

The commissioner spoke with each new recruit at the event, which is known as a ‘passing out parade’, before addressing them from a lectern beside hundreds of their relatives who had come to support them.

Sir Mark, who was appointed to his role in September, said: “You will find the vast majority of colleagues to be great team mates, but if you are unlucky, I do need you to help the Met on its journey to rebuild trust and confidence.

“I need you to have the confidence to confront and challenge inappropriate behaviour.

“This job has tough moments, but there is never an excuse for abhorrent racism, misogyny, homophobia or ableism.

“The Met on my watch will be ruthless in guarding our standards and integrity.

“Please remember: the standard you walk past, is the standard you endorse.”

Metropolitan Police passing-out parade
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley inspects new police recruits during his first passing-out parade since taking charge of the force, at Hendon Police College (Kirsty O’Connor/PA).

Sir Mark also used his first appearance as commissioner at a passing out parade to describe being re-sworn into his role by the King as an “emotional moment”, and acknowledged it was a “difficult time” for public trust in the force.

This comes after a report on the force’s misconduct procedures found that the internal disciplinary system is racist and misogynist, and allegations of sexual misconduct or discrimination are less likely to result in a case to answer than other claims.

Sir Mark previously pledged to root out misbehaving Met officers and estimated that there were hundreds who should have been kicked out of the force.

Metropolitan Police officer Carey Carlin, 30, from Bromley, south-east London, was among around 300 new recruits at the ceremony, and he said he joined the force to “make a difference”.

During an interview with the PA news agency, the Brixton-based trainee also said he would feel comfortable reporting senior staff if he believed they were breaching the police code of conduct.

When asked whether he and his peers felt the weight of responsibility on their shoulders to help improve public trust in the force, he said they had been “continually reminded of it” throughout the training process.

“In terms of having a weight on our shoulders, I think it’s a good thing, making sure we stay in the right channel,” he said.

When asked whether he felt comfortable reporting inappropriate behaviour from senior colleagues, Mr Carlin said: “I would feel comfortable reporting it.

“I’ve been welcomed into the station that I’m at currently, and I feel that no door would be closed on anyone who did want to report anything that they felt they needed to, especially with the talks that we’ve had along the way.

“The emphasis is to report people, it doesn’t matter what position they’re in.”