Sadiq Khan says New Met police chief Sir Mark Rowley must deliver changes to rebuild trust

·3-min read
Sir Mark Rowley takes over at the head of Scotland Yard next week (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
Sir Mark Rowley takes over at the head of Scotland Yard next week (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

The new Met Commissioner was on Monday told to deliver a “step change” in his force’s culture and effectiveness as Sadiq Khan warned that public trust in policing in the capital has plunged to a record low.

The London Mayor said Sir Mark Rowley, who takes over at the head of Scotland Yard next week, would also need “to drive through urgent reforms” to repair the damage caused by the wave of scandals that have engulfed the Met over the past two years.

He said the new Commissioner’s task would be to ensure that his force “gets the basics of policing right” and reduces the number of stabbings, shootings and other violent crimes blighting the city.

“A robust plan is required to rebuild trust and confidence in the Met police and to drive through the urgent reforms and step change in culture and performance Londoners deserve,” Mr Khan said.

“I look forward to supporting Sir Mark and working closely with the Home Secretary as we work to restore trust and confidence in the police, ensure that the Met gets the basics of policing right, and build on the success we have made in driving down violence and crime in our city.”

The Mayor said one reason why major improvements were needed was that “Londoners’ trust in the police is at a record low due to a series of appalling scandals”

He added that another was that a recent report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services had “revealed ‘systemic failings’ that have left the Met in special measures.”

Dame Cressida “felt intimidated” into stepping down as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in February this year following an ultimatum from Khan, according to a review by Sir Thomas Winsor which found due process was not followed. (PA Wire)
Dame Cressida “felt intimidated” into stepping down as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in February this year following an ultimatum from Khan, according to a review by Sir Thomas Winsor which found due process was not followed. (PA Wire)

Mr Khan’s comments follow a similar edict from Home Secretary Priti Patel in a weekend message to Sir Mark, a former national head of national counter-terrorism policing who was appointed earlier this summer to replace Dame Cressida Dick.

Ms Patel said Sir Mark would need to deliver “higher standards at every level” of the Met and do more “to prevent crimes from happening in the first place” as well as delivering “swift and certain justice to those who choose to break the law.”

She added that she knew that Sir Mark planned to use his first 100 days in post to “address the many difficult areas of failure and concern” within the Met and that his force needed to be “an example” to others in the country of how to deliver effective policing.

Today’s message by the Mayor follows his anger last week over a Home Office report by the former police watchdog, Sir Thomas Winsor into the departure of Dame Cressida Dick.

She resigned in February after Mr Khan told her he had lost confidence in her because of scandals including the racist and misogynistic conduct of some officers at Charing Cross police station, the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by the then serving officer Wayne Couzens, and the Met’s handling of the vigil at Clapham Common in memory of Ms Everard.

Sir Thomas found that the Mayor had “intimidated” and “effectively constructively dismissed” Dame Cressida, but Mr Khan hit back by claiming that the report was “biased” and insisting that his actions had been fully justified by the Met’s poor performance.