Met Police officers suspected of crimes ‘should be suspended immediately’ - campaigners

The force was called to the scene just after 6pm on Thursday (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)
The force was called to the scene just after 6pm on Thursday (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

Women’s safety campaigners demanded the immediate suspension of suspect police officers as a damning report warned of widespread misogyny and criminality in the Met and other forces.

The report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services said that officers with convictions for offences including robbery, indecent exposure and theft, and others with links to organised crime, had been allowed to join and transfer between forces because of vetting failures.

It also warned that misogynistic conduct was “prevalent”, with some officers engaging in “booty patrols” in which women were stopped because they were pretty and others targeting vulnerable women they were meant to be helping.

The findings — commissioned in the wake of the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Met officer Wayne Couzens — brought an admission on Wednesday from the head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, that a “toxic culture remains” and a new pledge from the Met that it will be “ruthless” in rooting out rogue officers.

But Anna Birley, co-founder of the women’s campaign group Reclaim These Streets, said that the “shocking” findings show that far-reaching changes were needed, including the immediate suspension of any officer suspected of wrongdoing.

“There are serving police officers who have multiple times exposed themselves to women, who have committed acts of domestic violence, who have targeted vulnerable women. It’s a huge problem,” she told Radio 4’s Today programme.

A spokesman for London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The Mayor welcomes the HMICFRS inspection and scrutiny of vetting, misconduct, and misogyny in police services across the country.

“It is clearer than ever that change and reform are long overdue. Much more must be done to detect and deal with misogynistic and predatory behaviour in all police forces to keep the public safe and restore public confidence – which is so vital to policing by consent.

“As Mayor, Sadiq has taken decisive action to ensure that in London, the Met is now set on a path of far-reaching systematic and cultural reform.

“Sir Mark Rowley (the new Met Commissioner) understands the scale of the challenge ahead and shares the Mayor’s calls for urgent action and radical improvements - both to raise standards and restore public confidence and trust in the police. Some of that work has already begun.

“The Mayor is committed to doing everything in his power to support Sir Mark to deliver the step-change in culture, systems, standards and performance that’s so desperately needed to rebuild public confidence, root out all officers and staff who bring the Met into disrepute and build a safer London for everyone.”