There is something rotten within the Metropolitan Police, the police of Greater London. Published on Tuesday March 21, an independent report by Baroness Louise Casey, Member of the House of Lords, delivered damning findings on the internal culture of Britain’s main and most prestigious police force. Also nicknamed “Scotland Yard”, the Metropolitan Police, which combines local responsibilities (maintaining order in the London conurbation) with national prerogatives (coordinating anti-terrorist actions or the security of Parliament, Downing Street and the royal family), is considered “institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic” by Mme Casey.
“The institution has failed in its main objective which is to protect the most vulnerable”, underlines this former government commissioner for victims and patron of the NGO Shelter, which supports the homeless. At the beginning of 2022, Cressida Dick, then chief commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, had entrusted him with this report, before resigning, following the enormous emotion aroused by the kidnapping in the middle of London, the rape and the assassination, in March 2021, of a young woman, Sarah Everard, by a serving police officer, Wayne Couzens. Why did the Metropolitan Police not know how to detect such a criminal in its midst, how was it able to keep him in the elite security corps of Parliament and diplomats, when he had already done the subject of reports for indecent conduct?
This scandal is the latest in a long series that has rocked Scotland Yard in recent years. In 2021, two police officers were sentenced to prison terms for circulating photos of the bodies of two sisters murdered in a London park on internal messaging services. Years earlier, the Metropolitan Police were unable to connect four murders of young gay men by a serial killer, when they had all been murdered at the same location in East London. Finally, the institution is sadly distinguished by its very poor statistics in the fight against sexual violence, with only one rape complaint out of twenty, resulting in the indictment of a suspect.
Internal culture of denial and concealment
The austerity cure imposed from 2010, as on all other British public services, partly explains these dramatic failures without excusing them. The budget of the Metropolitan Police has been cut by 700 million pounds sterling (795 million euros) in ten years, and the management of the institution has had to make choices. She gave priority, in particular, to the hunt for burglaries, at the expense of the fight against violence against women and children, explains Ms.me Casey, who denounces a deeply rooted internal culture of denial and concealment.
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