The Met Police are beyond reform – they need to be abolished

met police as the Casey review into the Met police is published
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A review into the Metropolitan police has found the force to be institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic. The report, written by government official Louise Casey, was commissioned after serving Met police officer Wayne Couzens was charged with the kidnap, rape, and murder of Sarah Everard. Since then another officer, David Carrick, has also been jailed for life for dozens of rapes and sexual assaults stretching back two decades. Furthermore, many other Met scandals have emerged.

Casey found a pervasive culture of “deep-seated homophobia” and predatory behaviour, in which female officers and staff “routinely face sexism and misogyny”. She also warned that the force could still be employing rapists and murderers. Additionally, Casey found that violence against women and girls has not been treated seriously enough by the majority white and male force.


Casey’s conclusions come nearly 25 years after the Macpherson Report. That report was triggered by the murder of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Even a quarter of a century ago the force was found to be institutionally racist, with dozens of reforms recommended.

Lawrence’s mother Doreen said the report showed the force was “rotten to the core,” saying:

It is not, and has never been, a case of a few ‘bad apples’.

It is rotten to the core. Discrimination is institutionalised within the Metropolitan Police and it needs changing from top to bottom.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has responsibility for the force and initiated the review, said he expected all of those recommendations to be fully implemented quickly. He described Tuesday as “one of the darkest days” in the Met’s history. But, is it? We’ve been here so many times before, as many people pointed out on Twitter.

Read on...

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Academic Kehinde Andrews said:

Journalist Lorraine King questioned if anything would even change:

Author Kelechi Okafor mentioned ex-commissioner Cressida Dick and called for the Met to be taken apart:

Human rights organisation Liberty called for a broader conversation about how to keep communities safe:

MP Claudia Webbe called for widespread change:

However, trade unionist Howard Beckett said that the Met was beyond reform:

Broken up?

Indeed, Casey herself warned that failure to reform could mean the Met is dismantled. She told BBC Radio:

The bottom line is this: if an organisation can’t fix itself then there has to be change

Casey also noted that “it may need to be broken up”. Home secretary Suella Braverman, who is responsible for policing, said “I don’t agree that we must abolish” the force. She added that instead “a wide-ranging and profound programme of reform” is required.

However, as Melissa Céspedes Del Sur wrote in Open Democracy:

You cannot reform a system that is working exactly as it is intended to: in the interests of the capital of the ruling elite, at the cost of the rest of us. The system relies on crises such as these to prove itself and individualise issues – one could say it is always in a state of crisis, but how many crises will it take before we are finally done with it?

Here at the Canary we’ve reported time and time again when Met police officers strip search children, further criminalise Black and Brown communities, have officers that rape and murder, and are placed in special measures. All of these incidents are not evidence that the Met needs reform. They’re evidence that the Met is functioning exactly as intended – criminalising vulnerable communities.

As Sur concluded, there is an alternative to this corrupt policing:

This change is already happening – every time someone intervenes in a police interaction, organises a strike, offers mutual aid, or resists an eviction or an immigration raid. We are changing the system when we talk to our neighbours instead of calling the police, or organise CopWatch meetings, or take to the streets to demand accountability for our murdered sisters and siblings.

Now, we can keep churning out the same reports about how deeply racist and misogynist the Met are, all whilst nothing changes. Or, we can acknowledge that police do not keep communities safe. People keep communities safe, and we can all do more to change a system that is undoubtedly harming marginalised communities.

Featured image by John Cameron/Unsplash

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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  • Show Comments
    1. The Metropolitan Police will neither be reformed nor disbanded. We have had reports into the policing methods and culture going back more than 50 years. So, there is not an officer in the force who has not spent her or his entire career in that culture. Indeed, although there are more women, black and other groups of officers they had to be accepted for employment by the Metropolitan Police and most of those recruited will have been chosen because it was felt their attitudes were in tune with the prevailing culture. Officers who did not adhere to the culture faced harassment by colleagues. So, the potential agents of change were squeezed out, and the culture continued.

      The Government, even if the Conservatives lose the election, will not disband or do other than make minor cosmetic changes because the Metropolitan Police protects the City and them, as it has always done. The citizens of London are perceived as the opposition to be kept at arm’s length.

      1. Not all of the citizens of London are regarded by its police as “the opposition” (and bear in mind that the City of London has its own police force). Landlords, business owners, all property owners for example are categories of the population that the Met and every other police force were created to serve. It is the working class alone that is the declared enemy of the police.

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