Metropolitan Police chiefs who turned a blind eye to racist and misogynistic behavior at Scotland Yard are just as responsible as the perpetrators, the force commissioner has said.
Sir Mark Rowley has vowed to root out those behind ‘appalling’ culture after a damning review revealed massive failures in how a force weighed down by ‘systemic’ racism and misogyny has dealt with wrongdoing in its ranks.
“If you are a leader, whatever you do not act, you are as guilty as the aggressor. What you walk past, you approve of,” Rowley told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Monday. “I’m dead serious about this. We’re going to raise our game, we’re going to be more ruthless, and we’re going to root these people out. »
He said the findings that senior officers could not only deter complainants from inappropriate behavior but join in were ‘appalling’ and admitted the force needed better leadership.
Rowley said there were probably hundreds of Met police officers on duty who should have been fired for their behavior. It came after the Casey Report revealed that officers suspected of serious criminal offenses including sexual assault and domestic abuse were being allowed to escape justice.
Casey was commissioned by the Met following the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by an on-duty officer. He revealed that Met officers and staff trying to fight off toxic colleagues had been let down by the force’s disciplinary system and that black officers were 81% more likely to face disciplinary action, and new recruits from ethnic minorities were more than 120% more likely to be fired than their white counterparts.
Speaking to the BBC, Rowley said hearing the personal stories behind the report affected him deeply. “It makes you angry and brings tears to your eyes to hear some of these stories and to speak to some colleagues who have experienced such racist or misogynistic behavior in the organisation; it is poorly managed.
“You talk to some colleagues about what they’ve been through and see their continued dedication to public service, it’s really humbling.”
He said he intended to prosecute racist and misogynistic officers in the same way British police have sought to tackle links between policing and organized crime in the past.
“The police had bigger problems in the past with corruption, where perhaps it was a relationship between detectives and criminals. And we’ve had a big effect on that over the last two or three decades. It was using anti-criminal tactics to prosecute these police officers.
“Now we have to see this for what it is; this misogyny, this racism. And it undermines our integrity just as badly as these things and we should use the same tactics; undercover operations, surveillance, whatever you need to find these individuals and root them out.
Casey told the same programme: ‘I really hope the Metropolitan Police and all who support them see today’s report as a line in the sand. I’m very aware that previous people have made similar findings, but what’s shocking is that between 2013 and 2021 the movement in terms of black officers and Asian officers being disproportionately more likely to being the subject of the misconduct system has not progressed far enough.
“It was 100% in 2013 for black officers and staff, and it’s 81% in 2021, so that’s out of place, but, god knows, it’s still an appalling statistic. Countless officers have told me misconduct isn’t good enough, that they don’t like it, and that they have to see today as a line in the sand.