All sexual and domestic abuse allegations against Metropolitan Police officers over the last ten years will be reviewed in the light of Sarah Everard‘s murder.
Dame Cressida Dick, commissioner for the force, announced on Friday that an investigation is being launched into all current cases of sexual misconduct or domestic abuse allegations against London‘s police officers.
Dame Cressida, 60, also revealed similar allegations that have been made against both officers and workers at the force over the last ten years will be reviewed.
Officers from the force’s Directorate of Professional Standards will analyse each of the cases internally and will undertake a check of the vetting history of the staff involved in the claims.
The under-fire commissioner, who is resisting calls to resign, said: ‘We’ll be reviewing them [the allegations] to make sure that the victim has been properly supported, and that the investigation is suitably thorough.
Dame Cressida Dick, commissioner for the force, announced on Friday that an investigation is being launched into all current cases of sexual misconduct or domestic abuse allegations
Dame Cressida, 60, also revealed similar allegations that have been made against both officers and workers at the force over the last ten years will be reviewed
‘We’ll also be going back to look at some of those [historic] investigations just to make sure that the processes that should have taken place have taken place and that we are taking the right management action after the case is closed.’
The force said in a statement the examination, which has been launched in addition to an independent review into the Met’s culture by Baroness Casey of Blackstock, was being held in the aftermath Ms Everard’s murder.
The Met has faced a wave of criticism over missed opportunities to expose killer cop Wayne Couzens as a sexual predator before he went on to rape and murder Sarah Everard.
Couzens used his police issue handcuffs and warrant card to stage a fake arrest on the marketing executive, 33, before taking her away in his car.
In the wake of his life sentence for murder, it was revealed more than half of Met officers found guilty of sexual misconduct over a four-year period to 2020 kept their jobs, a total of 43 officers out of 83 or 52 per cent.
Meanwhile, Louise Casey, Baroness Blackstock, will be in charge of a separate independent review into the Met in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.
Dame Cressida said she was ‘delighted’ to announce Baroness Blackstock will be in charge of an ‘independent and far-reaching review’ lasting an estimated six months.
She said: ‘She will be looking at our vetting, our recruitment, our leadership, our training and all manner of processes to see how they reinforce the best possible standards.
The Met has faced a wave of criticism over missed opportunities to expose killer cop Wayne Couzens as a sexual predator before he went on to rape and murder Sarah Everard (pictured)
The under-fire commissioner, who is resisting calls to resign, said historic allegations will be looked into to make sure ‘the processes that should have taken place have taken place’
‘She’ll make a public report, and public recommendations, so that we can improve and make sure that the public have more confidence in us.’
Dame Cressida said Baroness Casey – who has been leading an inquiry into how England yobs were able to break into Wembley during the Euros final – was a strong candidate for the job.
‘I think she’s got the right character, and the right expertise, and the right background, to do this review,’ she said.
Baroness Casey said: ‘Trust is given to the police by our, the public’s, consent. So any acts that undermine that trust must be examined and fundamentally changed.
‘This will no doubt be a difficult task but we owe it to the victims and families this has affected and the countless decent police officers this has brought into disrepute.’
The spotlight will also be shone on the force’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command – which killer Wayne Couzens worked for – with a ‘root-and-branch review’ looking at whether there are any ‘specific issues’ within the unit.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has welcomed the appointment of Baroness Casey to lead the independent review into the Met’s culture and standards.
In a series of tweets, Mr Khan said: ‘Baroness Casey’s review must look into the wider culture of the Met Police, including issues of misogyny, sexism, racism and homophobia as well as thoroughly examining recruitment, vetting, training, leadership and standards of behaviour among officers and staff.
‘I’ve been clear with the Met Commissioner about the scale of the challenge we face and the change that’s needed, and I will continue to play my full part in holding the Met Police to account on behalf of Londoners.’
The Met review is separate to the independent inquiry announced by the Home Secretary Priti Patel on Tuesday to look into the ‘systematic failures’ that allowed Ms Everard’s killer to be employed as a police officer.
Couzens (pictured) used his police issue handcuffs and warrant card to stage a fake arrest on the marketing executive, 33, before taking her away in his car
It emerged the 48-year-old was known as ‘the rapist’ by staff at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary because he made female colleagues feel so uncomfortable.
He had been accused of indecent exposure in Kent in 2015 and in London in the days before Ms Everard’s murder, but was allowed to continue working.
The Met, which is now dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct among officers, has since faced claims that there is systematic misogyny within the force.
Other probes are also being carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC).
Elsewhere, Dame Cressida, who has been charge of the Met during a number of high profile force scandals, has addressed a report in The Times newspaper, which said Home Secretary Priti Patel has set her three key targets to meet in order to keep her job.
Dick’s contract as Met Police commissioner has been extended until April 2024 amid a crisis around trust in the institution.
It was reported that the Home Secretary told Dick that there must be a drop in serious violence and knife crime in London, improvements to police response to violence against women and girls, and police must cooperate with an inquiry into failures leading to the murder of Sarah Everard, The Times reported, citing ‘Home Office sources’.
The sources reportedly told The Times that Dick’s contract was extended due to a lack of suitable candidates to replace her, adding that there were also concerns about too much change at the top, with several other high-ranking security officials set to leave their posts.
Meanwhile, Louise Casey (pictured), Baroness Blackstock, will be in charge of a separate independent review into the Met in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder
Addressing the reports, Dame Cressida said: ‘There were a number of things that the Home Secretary has discussed with me and I’ve discussed with her about how we can work most effectively together in the future, but we share the same priorities.’
She said conversations were also had in the run-up to her contract being extended with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, adding the trio are all focused on ‘the same things’, including reducing violence in the capital and protecting violence against women and girls.
Asked again about the reports, Dame Cressida said the conversations she had with Ms Patel were ‘private’ and she would not comment on them further.
A separate report published in the Evening Standard said that Home Office figures showed 29.9 per cent of Met officers at the end of June were women, the lowest of any force in England and Wales other than the City of London Police.
In response, Dame Cressida said she was ‘not content’ with the figures and was ‘determined’ to improve them, adding that research the force has found showed some women in some communities might be loathe to join the force due to major incidents with firearms and public order offences.
‘This is something we’ve been working really hard at for many years,’ she said. ‘We have many, many thousands (of female police officers) and they are thriving … we’ve got women in every single role at every rank.
‘But I’ve set out that we should be 50/50 and I am not content. We have increased the percentages, quite considerably latterly, but we need to move further and faster.’
Along with the handling of the Everard case, the Metropolitan Police are also facing heat over an independent panel’s finding of ‘institutional corruption’ in the investigation into the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987.
The private investigator was murdered in a south London car park and the panel found that the Met concealed or denied failures in their investigation.