Last updated on October 14th, 2023 at 11:30 amReading Time: 3 minutes
Before I begin I want to make a few things crystal clear, especially as many of the Twitterati seem to enjoy portraying me in completely the wrong way, or they think they know my opinions, but they do not, just mischief makers.
Firstly, I do not, and never have, think that the Metropolitan Police is a ‘perfect’ organisation. Neither do I think that it will ever become perfect, but it certainly in need of some improvements.
Neither do I believe that officers such as Couzens and Carrick, and many others, have any place in Policing. They should have been identified and weeded out. Something went wrong with their vetting and they slipped through the net. The fact that they were able to remain is undoubtedly due to some of their colleagues neither challenging nor reporting their suspicions. To be clear there is no place in Policing for colleagues like that either.
I have now had the opportunity to read a very helpful précis of the Review by Police Oracle and I have also skim read the majority of the Review in full.
Unless I have grossly misunderstood, or missed something, there is much about the Review that is positive. There are references to racism, misogyny and sexist behaviour by individual officers, and, obviously, to officers like Couzens and Carrick.
The Press would have us believe that the vast majority, if not all, of Met officers fall into one or more of these categories. I certainly didn’t interpret it that way, but only a fool would say it doesn’t exist because the Met are quite regularly putting officers suspected of these traits before the Courts or Misconduct Panels, and that is to be applauded. There are over 30,000 officers in the Met and I truly believe that is a case of a ‘few’ rotten apples and not the whole orchard.
It should be noted that in percentage terms there is a much higher number of politicians being investigated for sexual assaults, inappropriate language/behaviour, or very recently watching porn within the Chamber. There are similar issues in other professions also, but they are not subject to the same level of vilification as Policing.
The Review also contains quotes and comments from anonymised serving officers. Some of them I can readily accept and believe, others I find far more difficult to believe that serving officers would have made the comments attributed them, but I’ve been retired a long time, maybe things truly have changed that much.
There is one segment of the Review that I totally and utterly disagree with. Baroness Casey has repeated, and agreed with, the assertion that people of ethnic minorities were disproportionately the subjects of Stop and Search
The figures quoted compare the Stop/Search statistics for ethnicity are compared to the ethnic profile of London as a whole. Many people accept that that is a valid comparison, giving a disproportionate result.
Personally I favour the ‘Available Population’ approach. If one is looking for a black male suspect, and the majority of people present at the location at that time are black, it would be wholly wrong to Stop/Search a white person. For this comparison the ethnic profile of London is totally irrelevant. What is relevant is the ethnic profile of the ‘population’ at the venue, at the relevant time.
The Home Office, amongst others, are known to avoid this comparison in favour of the pan London population.
Finally, and I do hope that Police Oracle don’t mind me reproducing this (if you do I will happily delete this paragraph) their précis does highlight some positive points in the Review, reproduced below. Much (but not all) of the criticism of the Met is aimed at lack of supervision, poor leadership and flawed policies, none of which is the fault of the PCs on the Front Line.
Finally, if like me you were left spitting your breakfast cereals across the room yesterday I commend you to either read the Police Oracle précis, or brace yourself and read the full Review, it’s a hard slog, but does have its positive side.
Ultimately I, unsurprisingly, blame the government for much of the Met’s shortcomings. With the savage cuts applied by Theresa May there was a wholesale loss of Police Officers, Police Staff and Police buildings.
These cutbacks undoubtedly contributed to a decline in efficiency by the organisation as a whole. Reduction in efficiencies meant that vetting standards were woefully inadequate. Combined with the pressures of recruiting 20,000 ‘extra’ officers within 3 years some bad apples inevitably slipped through. QED.