Met Police hits back at damning watchdog report amid claims 'vulnerable victims of crime are being let down'

Fiona Simpson
Hit back: The Metropolitan Police have slammed a damning independent watchdog report: Kirsty O'Connor/PA

The Metropolitan Police have hit out at a damning report by an independent watchdog which claimed the force was letting down vulnerable victims of crime.

The report, published on Thursday by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC), said the Met’s overall service required improvement.

It said: “The force works hard to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, but its inadequate approach to keeping vulnerable people safe is a cause of concern to HMIC.

“The quality of some investigations and its management of offenders also require improvement.”

The force was also urged to improve ways in which they investigate crime and reduce re-offending.

The Met’s ability to tackle serious and organised crime also required improvement, the report said.

HMIC graded the force’s ability to protect vulnerable victims of crime as inadequate.

The independent watchdog said the Met lacked understanding of the links between missing children and the sexual exploitation of young people.

Scotland Yard blasted the report over claims there had been no reference made to budget cuts facing the service.

A statement released by the Met Police said: “We share the surprise of Chief Constable Michael Barton that the HMIC report on the effectiveness of policing in London, and nationally, makes no reference to budget challenges the service has faced and they do not reflect how these pressures lead to difficult prioritisation decisions to achieve the best for the public.

“We are pleased that the HMIC have recognised the hard work of our officers and staff to keep people safe and to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour as reflected in the reduction in crime in London over the last five years.

“This report repeats the HMIC’s concerns from their report that specifically focussed on child protection in autumn 2016, and, as they acknowledged at the time, we already taking action to making changes to improve how we work with vulnerable people, including children.”

“We welcome recognition of its success in tackling organised crime which the HMIC describe as admirable in many respects and as impressive in relation to our work tackling gangs.

“We therefore do not agree with the overall judgement of effectiveness in this area. We continue to improve our intelligence sharing and specialist detectives are being embedded with front line colleagues to enhance our approach to tackle organised crime.’’

The Met also expressed disappointment that work to combat terror threats in the capital had not been noted.

The statement added: “We think the public recognise that London has faced a threat level at severe for the last two and a half years, during which period the Met has focused on preventing terrorist attacks.

“We have carried out significant work required to try and keep London safe in this period and it is a disappointing that this has barely been acknowledged in this report.”