Met Police 'initiation' saw women forced to eat cheesecake until they vomited

A new report into the Met Police found junior staff faced 'humiliation' from the hazing-style initiation tests

Incoming Metropolitan Police officers were forced to eat cheesecake until they vomited, urinated on while showering and sexually assaulted, according to a new report into the force that found multiple instances of hazing behaviour.

The new Baroness Casey Review into the Standards of Behaviour and Internal Culture of the Metropolitan Police Service found the force has a "bullying" culture, where "racist, misogynist, homophobic and other discriminatory acts are tolerated, ignored, or dismissed as ‘banter".

"We were told about the humiliation of junior staff through initiation tests," the report stated. "These included food eating challenges, people being urinated on in the shower, and a report of a person who was allegedly sexually assaulted in a shower."

Among the case studies shared by the review, one woman known as "H" described initiation tests, as well as hierarchies, bullying and humiliation as being "rife" in the Met elite unit where she worked.

According to the report, H said women were pressured to compete in food eating initiations, one of which included women being forced to eat whole cheesecakes until they would vomit.

H also said she was told a male officer was sexually assaulted in the showers as part of their own initiation, which she claimed officers openly talked and joked about.

Baroness Louise Casey arrives at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, Monday March 20, 2023, to attend the press briefing of the review into the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service, commissioned in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer. (Kirsty O'Connor/Pool via AP)
Baroness Louise Casey's report found instances of hazing-type behaviour that humiliated new recruits. (AP)

As well as flagging complaints including bullying - particularly of staff who were not in the straight, white male demographic that dominates the Met Police - the report also makes numerous references to poor behaviour being dismissed as "banter" in a "laddish" working environment.

"We heard of bags of urine being thrown at cars, male officers flicking each other’s genitals, dildos being put in coffee mugs, lockers being emptied or covered in evidence tape, and an animal put in an officer’s locker," the report stated under the heading "On ‘pranks’ and ‘banter’".

Other case studies mentioned being told "It’s only banter" when they raised issues about racist, sexist and homophobic behaviour.

One officer said: "If you accept the comments as ‘banter’, maybe you’ll be accepted. You just had to hope they’d leave you alone."

Officer H, who highlighted the hazing rituals in her unit said people who refused to participate were ostracised and considered “not to be part of the team”, a message that prevailed for numerous case studies who said they were excluded if they complained about the Met's problematic culture.

"Speaking up is not welcome: Keeping your head down, looking the other way, and telling people – especially senior officers – what they want to hear is the way things are done in the Met," the report said. "The culture of not speaking up has become so ingrained that even when senior officers actively seek candid views, there is a reluctance to speak up."