'The Met Police as an institution is broken': Hackney Council responds to the Casey Review
The Casey review, an independent examination into the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service, has concluded the service to be institutionally corrupted by racism, sexism and homophobia. Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, respond:
"Baroness Casey has rightly said that the Metropolitan Police Service should and could be the best police force in the world. We see a local leadership committed to working with us, and frontline officers who go above and beyond the call of duty for victims of crime every single day.
"We know the majority of officers serve their communities with bravery, care, compassion and pride.
"The Met as an institution, however, is broken. And the most damning findings and evidence within the report come from serving or former police officers.
"We know the Met still does not look like or represent the people it serves. It’s what communities here in Hackney have known and have told us for decades. Black and Global Majority communities in particular have fought to be heard. We have fought to platform them: most recently providing experience and observation of policing in Hackney to help inform Baroness Casey’s work.
"In Hackney, we know there is a long shadow of multigenerational pain and trauma that has been caused and perpetuated by a police force that persistently stereotypes, wrongly criminalises and disproportionately hurts through excessive force the Black communities of Hackney - especially our boys and young men.
"This report vindicates them. Now, Londoners are left asking if the force is fit for purpose at all; with policing by consent at serious risk of collapse.
"The review is a stark and disturbing litany on why trust in the Metropolitan Police is at an all-time low and why there is a growing gap between the police and London’s diverse and sometimes marginalised communities.
"It finds that the Met has ‘failed to create a force that looks like the city it polices’; it is a force in which ‘racist, misogynist, homophobic and other discriminatory acts are tolerated, ignored, or dismissed’; and ‘blindness, arrogance and prejudice…are the prevailing and default cultures’.
"Despite all the evidence, the leadership of the Met has refused to accept the findings of institutional racism, sexism and homophobia. This is incredibly disappointing, and undermines their acceptance of the recommendations in the review.
"We reiterate our calls for the force to, again, accept that it is institutionally racist. And further, that it is institutionally sexist and homophobic. The review describes the Met as defensive, in denial, acting with hubris, a lack of humility, and with an optimism bias that means real and lasting change is frustrated. We fear the leadership runs the risk of repeating these failures.
"We encourage police officers - the professional, compassionate and brave majority - to recognise the findings of the report and get behind the need for seismic and institutional change. They should never feel undermined by colleagues who hold abhorrent views or disabled by structures that fail to tackle them.
"Now, Sir Mark Rowley must go beyond his existing ‘Turnaround Plan’ and be single-sighted in his promise to carry out a root and branch overhaul of his service and to banish, once and for all, the terrible and shameful cultures that have too long been accepted or gone unchallenged. This must be a moment of significant rehabilitation and fundamental reform, and these changes must be implemented with pace and rigour - with clear actions and milestones.
"For years, the Council has sought to tackle racial inequality, both within the Council and the wider society in which we have influence and reach. This has included work with partners, such as schools, the police and health partners, to find solutions to systemic problems, which has resulted in many initiatives, including our Diverse Curriculum: The Black Contribution, and the Improving Outcomes for Young Black Men programme
"And, we passed a comprehensive Anti-Racism Motion in 2020. Building on that political leadership, we launched our Anti-Racism Action Plan in 2021 to investigate where and how racism exists in the borough and seek solutions at institutional, community and individual level.
"We have consistently worked with our local force to both raise these concerns and to take action. This was significantly accelerated after Child Q, but dates back years, including Our Improving Outcomes for Young Black Men project; and more recently our work with the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to pilot their new Local Policing Scrutiny Scheme in Hackney. And we have brought the voices of our young people directly to the police to try to get their experiences and concerns acted upon through our Hackney Young Futures Commission and Hackney Youth Parliament.
"We will continue our work locally to tackle crime, keep residents safe, and help rebuild trust and confidence in the service, including through the development of a local policing action plan - co-produced by the Council, community and police.
“But we don’t want improvements to be confined just to the borough of Hackney and can’t be unlocked by us alone. The Casey Report represents a genuine moment of choice for the Met Police and its leadership. We do not think the Commissioner’s response and the Turnaround Plan yet grasps the seriousness of the issues or has the boldness of action necessary.”
Baroness Casey’s review, makes many findings, including:
- Failings in creating a police force that looks like Londoners
- That women and children have been left behind
- A culture that has allows predatory and unacceptable behaviours to flourish
- That discrimination is tolerated, not dealt with and has become baked into the system
- That the experiences of Black and Global Majority, women and LGBTQI+ staff staff are ignored or dismissed
- That good officers - who make up the majority - are encouraged not to speak up; and there is a failure to support them
- There is systemic mismanagement and growing ineffectiveness in catching criminals
- That senior leaders are defensive, resistant to change and unwilling to engage with communities
- There is now a serious concern that the fundamental democratic principle of policing by consent is at risk of collapse.
The report also makes multiple recommendations for the Met, which include:
- A fundamental reform and clean-up of the Met, including disbanding units displaying the worst worst cultures, behaviours and practices
- A new, independent, multi-disciplinary team of officers and staff to deal with misconduct cases, domestic abuse and discrimination cases
- An apology process for past failings in order to rebuild consent, particularly with communities where this is most at risk
- A reset of policies and procedures (like stop and search) that create the greatest disproportionality
- Training for all officers who work with children to prevent ‘adultification’, where police officers and others regard children, especially Black and Global Majority children, as threats rather than children who need protection from harm.
- The need for a dedicated women’s protection service.
- Rebuilding frontline services
- The reinstatement of borough-based policing - replacing the multiple borough command structure with greater partnership between borough police leaders and councils.