Metropolitan Police to defend May Day policing

Met commissioner has government’s ‘full support’ to reform force after damning report

Transport secretary Mark Harper has backed the Met Commissioner after a damning 363-page report into the police force found it is institutionally racist, sexist, and homophobic.

A review by Baroness Louise Casey, who spent a year investigating the Met Police in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by Couzens, said Britain’s largest force needs a “complete overhaul” and may need to be broken up.

Among a series of recommendations to “fix” the force, Baroness Casey said the unit that David Carrick, one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders, and Couzens both served in should be “effectively disbanded”.

Reacting to the findings, home secretary Suella Braverman said there had been “serious failures of culture and leadership” in the Met.

Asked this morning if Sir Mark Rowley, the head of the Met, maintained the government’s “full support” to lead the organisation, Mr Harper replied: “Yes, he does”.

He added: “The home secretary has made it clear that the commissioner has her support in making the changes that are necessary to get the Met into the sort of police force we want to see in London”.

Asked about the fact Londoners have lost support in the police, Mr Harper replied: “The commissioner has a very large job of work to do.

“He was appointed late last year, and the government supports him in the changes that he’s going to have to make to get the Met into a fit shape that it needs to be to serve London”.

Harper echoed the comments of the prime minister, who told BBC Breakfast when asked whether he believed his daughters could trust the police in London: “Of course we need the answer to that question to be yes.

“Clearly at the moment trust in the police has been hugely damaged by the things that we’ve discovered over the past year.”.

In her review, Baroness Casey warned “predatory and unacceptable behaviour has been allowed to flourish” at the Met Police and there was a “culture of denial” in the force.

She called for the Met to “change itself”, adding: “It is not our job as the public to keep ourselves safe from the police. It is the police’s job to keep us safe as the public”.

Baroness Casey’s conclusion that the force is institutionally racist echoes the view of the Macpherson Inquiry in 1999, which took place after Stephen Lawrence’s murder and the failures in how the Met investigated his death.

Also speaking this morning, Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said there were still “toxic individuals” in the force and he felt “embarrassed” by the review.

He described the report by Baroness Louise Casey as “very, very worrying”.

However, while fully accepting “the diagnosis” of the findings, Sir Mark would not use the term “institutionally racist” to describe the force.

Sir Mark said: “We’re bringing in a new vetting method to remove officers who fail vetting.

“I’ve been asking the home secretary and the prime minister for new powers to improve police regulations to make it easier to deal with these issues.”