The Metropolitan Police is institutionally racist, sexist, and homophobic and may have more officers like killer Wayne Couzens and serial rapist David Carrick, a damning report has found.
A review by Baroness Louise Casey, who spent a year investigating the Met Police in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by Couzens, said Britain’s largest force needs a “complete overhaul” and may need to be broken up.
Among a series of recommendations to “fix” the Met, Baroness Casey said the unit that Carrick – who was unmasked as one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders – and Couzens both served in should be “effectively disbanded”.
Her 363-page report found evidence of widespread bullying, racist attitudes and “deep-seated homophobia” in the force.
Asked if there could be more officers in the Met like Couzens and Carrick, Baroness Casey said: “I cannot sufficiently assure you that that is not the case.”
She pointed out that Carrick was only caught after one of his victims heard a statement made by Ms Everard’s devastated mother and was moved to contact Hertfordshire Police, rather than as a result of any action by the Met.
Among the report’s findings:
• A policewoman told how she tried to end her own life over the Met’s handling of her abuse allegations against another officer
• Staff were told that rape cases “would be dropped” due to a broken Met Police freezer that contained evidence from alleged victims. In another incident, a lunch box was found in the same fridge as rape samples, which would have contaminated evidence
• The Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command – in which Couzens and Carrick served – is “a dark corner of the Met where poor behaviours can easily flourish”
• A “deeply troubling, toxic culture” existed in the Met’s specialist firearms command, known as MO19, which included a training desk where “men hold competitions on how often they can make their female students cry”
• A female officer who accused a more senior colleague of sexual assault said she was “labelled a trouble-maker”
• An openly gay officer told the review: “I am scared of the police,” after he was the target of a “sustained campaign of homophobia from inside the Met”
• One officer “groomed” a victim of domestic abuse, while another was heard calling a white woman caught buying drugs from a black man a “n***** lover”.
‘Culture of denial’
Baroness Casey warned “predatory and unacceptable behaviour has been allowed to flourish” at the Met Police and there was a “culture of denial” in the force.
She called for the Met to “change itself”, adding: “It is not our job as the public to keep ourselves safe from the police. It is the police’s job to keep us safe as the public.”
“I make a finding of institutional racism, sexism and homophobia in the Met,” Baroness Casey wrote.
Damning review echoes landmark inquiry
The peer said if “sufficient progress” was not made to reform the force, “dividing up the Met… should be considered”.
The force currently runs the national counter-terrorism command and there have long been calls for that responsibility to move to the National Crime Agency, to allow the Met to focus on policing London.
Her conclusion that the force is institutionally racist echoes that of the Macpherson Inquiry in 1999, which took place after Stephen Lawrence’s murder and the abject failures in how the Met investigated his death.
Since then, the force has remained largely white and male, the review found.
The series of scandals at the Met Police
Baroness Casey’s report listed a series of scandals that had “damaged the Met’s reputation and cast doubt upon its culture and standards”. They included:
• The kidnap, rape, and murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met officer Wayne Couzens in March 2021
• The Met’s handling of a public vigil held following Ms Everard’s murder
• An independent report – published in June 2021 – into the 1987 axe murder of Daniel Morgan, which found institutional corruption in the Met
• An inquest in December 2021 for the victims of serial killer Stephen Port found that fundamental failings by the Met “probably” contributed to three of the four deaths
• The jailing in December 2021 of two Met officers for taking and sharing photos of two murdered women, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman
• A police watchdog report in February last year which identified misogyny, harassment, and bullying – including racist, sexist and homophobic messages– among officers based at Charing Cross police station between 2016 and 2018
• A child safeguarding report in March 2022 which revealed a 15-year-old black schoolgirl was strip-searched by police after she was wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis
• The jailing in February of police officer David Carrick, who admitted 49 charges – including 24 counts of rape – against 12 women.
Met chief dismisses ‘institutional’ branding
In response to the report, Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley apologised and said he accepted the “diagnosis” of prejudice in the force.
However, he said he would not use the term “institutional” because he viewed it as politicised and ambiguous.
The senior officer – who replaced Dame Cressida Dick as the head of the Met last year – said the findings sparked “feelings of shame and anger, but it also increases our resolve”.
“The appalling examples in this report of discrimination, the letting down of communities and victims, and the strain faced by the frontline, are unacceptable,” he said.
“We have let people down, and I repeat the apology I gave in my first weeks to Londoners and our own people in the Met. I am sorry.
“I want us to be anti-racist, anti-misogynist and anti-homophobic. In fact, I want us to be anti-discrimination of all kinds.”
Carrick victim: Every Met officer needs to re-vetted
By Andy Hughes, investigative journalist
A victim of serial rapist policeman David Carrick is calling for every Met officer to be re-vetted after a damning review into serious failings of Britain’s biggest force.
The woman, in her 40s, was repeatedly raped and assaulted by Carrick for more than six months while in a relationship with the firearms officer.
Helen – not her real name – explained how Carrick boasted about his job in the Met, but later went on to abuse her physically and mentally over the course of their relationship.
Baroness Casey’s report found that the Met’s vetting process fails to weed out predatory officers, and the system needs a complete overhaul.
Helen told Sky News: “I think every male police officer in the Met needs to be re-vetted.
“When I first met David Carrick he was charming and really nice. He used to say that I would always be safe with him because he was a police officer.
“But the man I got to know became a monster. I can’t believe that someone, so clearly evil, could be vetted, and they think he was okay to be in the police. I later found out there were loads of complaints and allegations against him – so he shouldn’t have even been in the police.
“I have no idea how someone so f****d up can be a police officer, never mind give him a gun.”
Carrick, who starved the victim and her daughter, so they would be weak, placed several home surveillance cameras around his home to track their movements while he was out working for the Metropolitan Police.
Helen was left so traumatised that she fears all uniformed police officers. She said: “When I see a police officer in uniform, I freeze – even now. I remember going into a petrol station and all of a sudden, I hear the sound of a police radio and I thought: ‘Oh my god’, I didn’t know what to do.
“At that time in my mind, I was thinking: ‘What are they going to do to me? How are they going to harm me? They’re not here to protect me’.”
Baroness Casey said she was disappointed that Sir Mark would not accept the term “institutional” in relation to her findings, but said she will wait to see what action the force takes in the coming weeks and months.