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London police found institutionally ‘racist and misogynistic’

London’s Metropolitan
Police is institutionally racist, misogynistic
and unable to police itself, an independent review has said, heaping pressure on the Met’s new chief to reform
Britain’s biggest police force.

The review on Tuesday was commissioned by then-head of the Met,
Cressida Dick, in 2021 after a serving officer was sentenced to
life in prison for the rape and murder of a young woman, Sarah
Everard, a shocking case that put a spotlight on the force’s
broader culture.

Louise Casey, a parliament’s upper house member who led
the review, said “radical” reform was needed after severe
failings were found across the Met, which employs more than
43,000 officers and staff.

“We have found widespread bullying, discrimination,
institutional homophobia, misogyny and racism,” the report said,
adding “women and children do not get the protection and support
they deserve”.

The report said women in the force were reluctant to speak out for fear of ramifications for their careers, with
misogynistic comments often passed off as “banter”.

In one example, a female officer was discouraged from making a formal complaint after a male colleague harassed her.

Other instances cited included a Sikh officer having his
beard cut because an officer thought it was funny, another officer having his turban put into a shoe box for the same reasons, and bacon
being left inside the boots of a Muslim officer.

‘Scathing’ report

The report, which Interior Minister Suella Braverman described as “scathing”, comes more than two decades after a 1999 inquiry into the murder of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence identified institutional racism within the force.

The review said the biggest barrier was the Met’s culture of defensiveness and denial about the scale of its problems.

Met Commissioner Mark Rowley, Britain’s most senior police officer, told reporters: “We’ve let Londoners down and we’ve let our own frontline down … I’m deeply sorry.”

“[The report] generates a whole series of emotions: anger, frustration, embarrassment … But most of all, it generates resolve,” he added, saying the force’s professional standards department had been “stepped up.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said trust in the police had been “hugely damaged”.

Braverman told parliament, “some of the huge challenges for the organisation may take years to fully address.”

The 360-page report listed strong leadership, a women’s protection service, and a new children’s strategy as some of its recommendations.

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