Met Police chief can’t rule out another Wayne Couzens already serving on the force

Met Police chief can’t rule out another Wayne Couzens already serving on the force: Sir Mark Rowley reveals he ‘shed a tear’ over report into staff behaviour and vows to sack ‘hundreds of officers who don’t live up to standards’

  • Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley could not say another killer cop was not in force 
  • Report found officers getting away with sex misconduct, racism and misogyny
  • Baroness Casey’s report was commissioned in wake of Sarah Everard’s murder 
  • Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said officers in question should all be sacked

Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley today refused to rule out another Wayne Couzens could be in his force after admitting crying over the brutal Casey Report.  

The review found hundreds of officers getting away with sexual misconduct, racism and misogyny.

This morning it sparked calls for an statutory inquiry and accusations that Commissioner Rowley’s plan to sack officers ‘missed the wider point’.

The review by Baroness Casey, commissioned after the murder of Sarah Everard by Couzens, laid bare the rot at the heart of Scotland Yard.

And in an extraordinary radio interview this morning Met chief Rowley, 57, would not deny another killer could be still serving in the force.

LBC host Nick Ferrari asked him: ‘You can’t look me in the eye and say there’s not another Wayne Couzens in the force at the moment can you?’

Rowley: ‘I can’t look you in the eye and say we haven’t got officers who are treating women appallingly absolutely not, the evidence said that we do and I’m going to sort it.’

He added: ‘The combination over the last few weeks of seeing advanced drafts of the report and talking to officers in the organisation – I have shed a tear.’

The report was commissioned in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens

The report was commissioned in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens

The review by Baroness Casey laid bare the rot at the heart of Scotland Yard in full detail

The review by Baroness Casey laid bare the rot at the heart of Scotland Yard in full detail

The police chief has only been in the job for a month and has conceded his force is riddled with hundreds of officers ‘behaving disgracefully, undermining our integrity’. 

Baroness Casey’s report found scores of officers remained in the ranks despite being accused of appalling crimes, including sexual assault, domestic abuse, corruption and fraud. 

It concluded ‘systemic racism’ and discrimination in the force’s disciplinary system created a culture where ‘anything goes’ and officers could not be sacked.

Sir Mark has called for an overhaul of the system, which would require a change in the law. 

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is understood to be considering bringing the new rules into place.

But the commissioner’s pledge to sack more officers was too simplistic for some, who called for a full-scale statutory enquiry into the force. 

Hundreds of ¿criminals in uniform¿ are getting away with sexual misconduct, racism and misogyny in Britain¿s biggest police force, its commissioner admitted yesterday

Hundreds of ‘criminals in uniform’ are getting away with sexual misconduct, racism and misogyny in Britain’s biggest police force, its commissioner admitted yesterday

Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley (pictured) said the officers involved were ¿undermining our integrity¿ ¿ and should be sacked

Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley (pictured) said the officers involved were ‘undermining our integrity’ – and should be sacked

ELEVEN misconduct allegations … but officer remains in his job 

Sir Mark Rowley has said he was unable to get rid of officers if a legally qualified chairman in a misconduct hearing decided they could keep their job.

Among the shocking cases uncovered was an officer facing 11 misconduct cases involving abuse, sexual harassment and assault, fraud, improper disclosure of information and distribution of an explicit image of himself. The officer received a formal sanction in relation to the first allegation of harassment and assault but was not dismissed.

By then, six more cases, including sexual assault and serious assault, had been raised.

After a formal sanction, four more cases were brought and the officer received another formal sanction but was not dismissed. He is still serving.

Scotland Yard chief Sir Mark Rowley was unable to get rid of officers if a legally qualified chairman in a misconduct hearing decided they could keep their job

Scotland Yard chief Sir Mark Rowley was unable to get rid of officers if a legally qualified chairman in a misconduct hearing decided they could keep their job

One officer who has had six misconduct cases against him for oppressive conduct and harassment, neglect of duty, leakage of information and discriminatory behaviour linked to race and faith has remained in post. The discrimination and harassment allegations were linked to social media, including a Whatsapp group. The officer has received two final written warnings in ten years. He received a ‘no case to answer’ decision for three of the cases and one case remains open. He, too, is still serving.

An officer with seven misconduct cases against him including corrupt practice, sexual assault and domestic abuse, has kept his job. A month after his third case, he was involved in a domestic assault, but a chairman decided this did not constitute misconduct. Seven months later, an allegation of sexual assault and domestic abuse was made which resulted in no action.

In total, the officer has received management action three times, reflective practice once and ‘no case to answer’ three times.

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Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, said: ‘What the Casey Report shows very clearly is that there is a case to answer over institutional misogyny and racism in the Met.

‘Yet the response from Met Police Chief Mark Rowley demonstrates the scale of the problem exactly. His focus on sacking the officers in question, whilst the right response to those cases, misses the wider point.

‘The culture of the Met permits not only those officers to escape justice but for racism and misogyny to flourish unchecked. Without addressing this, the Met will simply have to sack hundreds of officers a year because nothing will really change – it amounts to sweeping the problem under the rug, at the expense of women and people of colour.

‘Nothing short of an independent, statutory inquiry which can compel witnesses and evidence will be able to address this. I have been calling for a statutory inquiry into misogyny in the Met – on the same scale as the Stephen Lawrence inquiry – for years.’

The report found:

  •  Officers are virtually unsackable, with only 5 per cent of all misconduct cases ending in dismissal;
  • Some officers have faced 19 misconduct probes and one accused of 11 matters including sexual harassment, assault, fraud, leaking information and sending naked images is still in post;
  • Racism in the ranks results in black officers and staff being 81 per cent more likely to be accused of misconduct than their white colleagues;
  • Sexual degradation of female officers and bullying is encouraged by some managers;
  • About 20 per cent of officers accused face multiple misconduct cases, yet less than 1 per cent are fired.

Sir Mark apologised as he said the ‘painful’ report ‘shames us’. He said it was ‘hard not to shed a tear’ at how some female and black officers had been treated, admitting the report had left him angry and ‘upset’.

Currently, only about 30 to 50 officers are dismissed a year from the force. Figures show that just 5 per cent of almost 9,000 Met officers and staff accused of misconduct since 2013 have been sacked.

Of the 1,809 who faced more than one misconduct case, just 13 were fired – less than 1 per cent.

More than 500 officers were involved in three to five misconduct probes, 41 officers faced more than six and some stood accused of as many as 19 matters.

‘This leaves many officers and staff in the Met to conclude that discriminatory behaviour is in fact not a breach of professional standards and adds to the sense that ‘anything goes’,’ Baroness Casey said.

The former Whitehall troubleshooter condemned the Met’s misconduct system as ‘not fit for purpose’, saying it has been infected by ‘systemic racism’ for a decade, with black officers and staff 81 per cent and Asian officers 55 per cent more likely to be accused of misconduct than white colleagues.

Sir Mark called for an overhaul of the system, which would require a change in the law, something which is being considered by Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured)

Sir Mark called for an overhaul of the system, which would require a change in the law, something which is being considered by Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured)

The alarming findings 

  •  Just 5 per cent of 8,917 Met officers and staff accused of misconduct since 2013 have been fired.
  • Of the 1,809 who faced more than one misconduct case, only 13 were fired – which is less than 1 per cent.
  • The report found 1,263 were involved in two or more cases, more than 500 were involved in three to five, and 41 were involved in six or more – the highest number being 19.
  •  One officer accused of 11 matters including sexual harassment, assault, fraud, leaking information and sending naked images is still in post.
  • Racism in the ranks results in black officers and staff being 81 per cent more likely to be accused of misconduct than their white colleagues.
  •  Sexual degradation of female officers and bullying is encouraged by some managers, officers told Baroness Casey.
  • Currently around only 30 to 50 officers are dismissed a year from the force, but Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley believes ‘hundreds’ need to be ejected.
  •  In one unit nearly half (47 per cent) of female staff said they had experienced sexism and misogyny in the past six months.
  • In another borough, 22 per cent of public protection officers and 37 per cent of emergency response officers had been the victim of unwanted sexual advances or touching.

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Black probationary officers are 126 per cent and Asian officers 123 per cent more likely to be forced out compared to their white colleagues, who often escape sanction for lying during vetting and failing exams.

The report also lifted the lid on the tolerance of predatory sexual behaviour within the ranks.

In one unit, 47 per cent of female staff said they had experienced sexism and misogyny in the past six months. In another borough, 22 per cent of public protection officers and 37 per cent of emergency response officers had been the victim of unwanted sexual advances or touching.

One female officer recalled ‘being told that if you fell asleep on a night shift you couldn’t claim there was no consent to unwanted sexual touching’. After one officer was convicted of an offence, it emerged that a female colleague had reported him for sexual assault but supervisors did not act.

In one unit, 47 per cent of female staff said they had experienced sexism and misogyny in the past six months. In another borough, 22 per cent of public protection officers and 37 per cent of emergency response officers had been the victim of unwanted sexual advances or touching.

One female officer recalled ‘being told that if you fell asleep on a night shift you couldn’t claim there was no consent to unwanted sexual touching’. After one officer was convicted of an offence, it emerged that a female colleague had reported him for sexual assault but supervisors did not act.

Others told Baroness Casey of their frustration that wrongdoers went unpunished, describing the system as ‘stacked against them’. Many were discouraged to report misconduct and made to ‘feel like they were the one with the problem when they raised a conduct issue’.

One inspector said: ‘We don’t want this behaviour in the Met. If we worked for Tesco we’d be able to sack someone for less.’

Baroness Casey found that allegations of sexual misconduct or discrimination were less likely to result in a case to answer than other claims. An internal review revealed that 24 officers had been investigated two or more times for sexual misconduct and domestic abuse but previous allegations had not been taken into consideration.

The report is just the first from the peer who was brought in to look at misconduct procedures and the culture within the force after a series of scandals.

As it was published, the Home Office announced a review of the systems to sack police officers, whether forces are using powers to dismiss probationary officers, and if regulations governing the disciplinary system should be changed. Mrs Braverman said: ‘The public rightly expects the highest standards of behaviour from police officers and the vast majority meet this expectation.

‘But recently too many high-profile incidents and reports, especially in London, have damaged trust – which is unfair on the public and lets down other serving officers. This cannot continue. Culture and standards in the police must improve. And where an officer has fallen seriously short of these expectations, demonstrable, public action must be taken.’

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