10,000 public complaints against Met officers and staff last year

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Met Police removing knife images from social media amid evidence it causes harm
Image source Unsplash

More than 10,000 complaints were filed against Metropolitan Police officers and staff by members of the public in less than a year, new data reveals.

Official figures show 10,200 complaints made up of 14,673 allegations between 1 January and 9 December last year, including alleged harassment, racial, sexist and homophobic behaviour, excessive use of force and sexual assault.

City & East London Assembly Member and Policing and Crime spokesperson Unmesh Desai AM, who obtained the data, called for “decisive action” on vetting, disciplinary and dismissal procedures to dispel the “growing distrust” in the force following a series of scandals.

Six in ten allegations referred to ‘delivery of duties and service’, and Desai said Londoners are “disillusioned” with the treatment they are receiving at the hands of officers.

The data reveals 989 allegations relating to individual officer actions ranging from ‘overbearing or harassing behaviours’ to ‘unprofessional attitude and disrespect’ and ‘impolite language/tone’.

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There were 829 allegations for ‘use of force’, 398 for ‘discriminatory actions’, including 286 claims of racial discrimination and 34 allegations regarding ‘sexual conduct’.

Half of London’s 12 Basic Command Units (BCU) – Central West, North West, South Area, South East, South West, West Area – had more than 1,000 complaints.

The Met has faced shocking revelations about serving and former officers, including PC David Carrick, who pleaded guilty to 49 offences, including dozens of rapes.

Serious questions have been raised over vetting, disciplinary and dismissal procedures, as well as external and internal complaint systems. It has been reported that of 1,809 Met staff facing misconduct charges since 2013, just 13 have been dismissed.

All 45,000 Met officers and staff will be rechecked for previously missed offending, Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has said. Sir Mark recently established an internal anti-corruption team and set up an anonymous police complaints hotline.

At the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee on 25 January, the Commissioner revealed that two to three criminal cases against officers are expected to go to court every week in the coming months.

The upcoming Angiolini Inquiry into the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens will be expanded to include evidence arising from handling of the David Carrick case, Sir Mark has confirmed. This follows Baroness Louise Casey’s recently completed interim review into the Met’s culture and standards.

Desai, who obtained the data through a written question to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, joined the Met Commissioner and the Mayor in calling for the government to urgently reform police regulations governing misconduct and to conclude their ongoing review of police dismissals.

Desai said: “There is growing public distrust in the Met police to police themselves. Londoners are disillusioned. Reform is long overdue.

“Complaints need to be better handled, what constitutes misconduct and goss-misconduct must be reassessed and changes made regarding suspension and dismissal for the most serious allegations.

“Trust must be restored. I’m fully supportive of the action being taken by Sir Mark to address vetting, disciplinary and dismissal procedures.

“Current Police Conduct Regulations are not fit for purpose. The government must replace them with new regulations as a matter of urgency.

“We need decisive action. It is vital the police leadership have the powers needed to ensure that the system is effective in removing officers who are not fit to serve.”

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