Asian officers and staff were 55 per cent more likely to receive a misconduct allegation than their white colleagues in the most recent financial year.
By: Chandrashekar Bhat
British Asian officers and staff of the Metropolitan Police are substantially more likely to receive an allegation of misconduct than their white colleagues, a damning report has concluded.
Baroness Louise Casey’s review into the UK’s largest police force has found racial disparity exists in the misconduct system and “white officers and staff continue to fare better than their black, Asian or mixed ethnicity counterparts”.
It said officers and staff who suffered discrimination and hate from colleagues were further let down by a weak response from the force.
Asian officers and staff were 55 per cent more likely to receive a misconduct allegation than their white colleagues in the most recent financial year while the figure rose to 81 per cent for black officers, the interim report said. Officers and staff of mixed ethnicity were 41 per cent more likely than their white counterparts to face such accusations.
“The evidence around racial disparity in the Metropolitan Police’s misconduct system is so great, and so shocking, that even in 2021, 81 per cent of black staff and officers are more likely to be in the misconduct system than their white counterparts is truly awful,” the baroness said.
However, there has been significant improvement since 2013-14 when black officers and
staff were twice as likely as white colleagues to receive an allegation. But there is no clear pattern of improvement from one year to the next.
“We also heard that the misconduct system is not sufficiently robust with white officers who breach professional standards, but there is a lower threshold for black, Asian and mixed ethnicity officers and staff,” the report said.
“We also heard that there may be a reluctance among supervisors to address low level incidents for fear of being labelled a racist, and being ‘passed up’ into the misconduct system,” it said.
According to the independent review commissioned after the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer last year, the Met “takes too long to resolve allegations of misconduct.”
On average, it would take about 400 days for the force to make a decision and hand out a sanction.
Even removal of allegations involving the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) would take nearly 350 days on average.
The duration of misconduct investigations was a “source of huge frustration” for officers and staff and the delay impacted both the individual making the allegation and the officer subject to the complaint as well as operational effectiveness of the force.
“We heard many examples of unacceptable behaviour going unchecked for long periods, including cases where officers had lied on their vetting, failed their exams, and been involved in misconduct issues and were still not being removed…. The lack of effective action both further undermines confidence in the Met’s ability to deal with poor behaviour and harms the reputation of the new intake,” the report said.
The data analysed during review also showed that when an allegation related to racism, sexual misconduct or other discriminatory behaviour was made, it was less likely to receive a case to answer decision than other issues. But the report said the data quality “is the least reliable” in the area.
It also highlighted the case of an unnamed officer who avoided being sacked despite facing 11 allegations of wrongdoing. The officer continued to serve on the force after being arrested over a “sexual offence”, the report noted.
Reacting to the report unveiled on Monday (17), Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley vowed to set a new direction to the force.
Sir Mark, who previously pledged to root out corruption from the organisation, said he would “urgently confront the culture, systems and leadership that have let down the public and officers and staff alike”.
People expected the force to uphold the highest standards and yet it was “being undermined by corrupting behaviours that have gone unchallenged and have been allowed to multiply.”
Although the report focused on misconduct, “it tells a serious story about our culture”, the commissioner said adding, “we need to radically overhaul how our organisation is set up, and instil our values in everything we do.”
He told Sky News he wanted to get rid of hundreds of officers and staff who were guilty of crimes and unethical conduct.
“Some of them are unethical and don’t deserve to be a cop and don’t deserve to wear the uniform,” he said and noted, “some of what they’re doing is in many cases criminal”.
Baroness Casey, who was asked by Sir Mark’s predecessor Dame Cressida Dick to conduct the review, is expected to present the final report during the spring next year.