The Metropolitan Police is to review hundreds of sexual misconduct allegations against officers amid public “dismay and disappointment” in the force.
The force announced on Tuesday that work is under way to review 300 cases where sexual misconduct and domestic abuse allegations have been made against Met officers and staff.
Internal investigators will also “dip sample” 100 cases of an officer’s vetting history by reviewing 10 cases each year for the past 10 years.
The probe, which will be completed by spring next year, will be carried out by 50 new investigators who were posted to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) earlier this month.
The force said the increased workforce in the DPS, an internal body responsible for investigating complaints against officers, will help to “prevent and identify the abuse of trust by our people”.
The new steps were first pledged in October following the sentencing of Wayne Couzens, the Met Police officer who abducted, raped and murdered Sarah Everard as she was walking home in Clapham, south London.
Following the murder, it emerged that Couzens, who worked in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, had been accused of indecent exposure on numerous occasions, but no action was ever taken.
After the court hearing when Couzens was handed a whole life tariff, Dame Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said that the incident “brought shame on the Met”, adding: “Speaking frankly as an organisation, we have been rocked. I absolutely know that there are those that feel their trust in us is shaken. I recognise that for some people, a precious bond of trust has been damaged.”
She later announced a review into culture and standards of behaviour across the Met, which will be led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock, and a specific review of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. The force confirmed this week that they will be completed in the middle of next year.
The Metropolitan Police has been working to restore faith among the public following the murder of Sarah Everard
Credit: Metropolitan Police/Handout
Cmdr Rachel Williams, who is leading the Met’s work to rebuild trust across London, said: “We’ve heard loud and clear the dismay and disappointment in us as a police service, of how people, and women in particular, have questioned whether they can trust us to keep them safe. We depend on the trust of the public. It is fundamental to our core purpose of keeping the public safe.
“We cannot, and are not, waiting for the findings of ongoing inquiries to begin rebuilding trust. We have already taken a number of significant steps to start real change across the organisation and will continue to improve as soon as we identify opportunities to.
“While crucial work to move forward the immediate actions we committed to takes place, our dedication to Londoners is undiminished. Our relentless efforts to drive down violent crime – including violence against women and girls – across the capital have not wavered.”
She added: “This month we published an action plan setting out how we are tackling violence against women and girls. We are disrupting those intent on inciting violence on our streets, making public places safer, supporting victims and bringing criminals to justice.
“Over the last year, knife and gun crime in the capital have reduced 26 per cent, personal robbery is down 25 per cent. We are putting officers where we know the public want to see them most. We have invested in our town centre teams meaning communities will see local officers in their local areas. We’re using the most modern technology and advanced techniques to solve some of the most complex crimes.
“We’re here, we’re changing, we’re learning. We will not stop working to be the service Londoners need and deserve.”