What is the way forward for the Metropolitan Police Service?

Alan Shearman
June 30, 2023

Following the publication of the Casey Review into the Metropolitan Police’s culture and behavioural standards, it is clear that there must be substantial effort to change the Service not only to provide a better and safer working environment for women, but also to meet the needs of Londoners in a city that is becoming increasingly diverse[1].The Casey Review highlighted the pervasive problems that run through the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), including systemic misogyny, overt homophobia, and racism, underpinned by a “culture of denial”[2] that fails to act upon complaints made by members of the public or by officers themselves.

The issues that have arisen over the past three years, in particular, the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer, Wayne Couzens; an investigation into officers at Charing Cross Station that found that officers had joked about rape and shared offensive messages on social media; and the recent prosecution of MPS officer, David Carrick, for 49 charges including 24 counts of rape, have severely damaged the reputation and credibility of the MPS. The Casey Review’s assessment of these incidents, and numerous others, is the most comprehensive since the 1999 MacPherson Report following the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and it may be some time before any credible reflections can be made on how successful the review will be in being a catalyst for change within the police service.

Our work at SecurityWomen continues to support the need for change within the Metropolitan Police Service and contributes to public consultations including the current consultation on the Police Code of Ethics. As well as this, the Casey Review is clear on the shortcomings of existing vetting procedures that have allowed officers linked to cases of sexual misconduct and sexual violence to join the MPS and remain in the Service when this has later been discovered. SecurityWomen will advocate for change to strengthen the vetting procedures and disciplinary processes. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley has raised the issue of where the authority to dismiss officers should lie, and Home Secretary Suella Braverman has undertaken a review of this process and will shortly be reporting on this. It must consider the current management structure and the need for accountability on issues of culture, standards, and behaviour. We are hopeful that the Metropolitan Police will continue its drive to create a diverse police force, particularly in respect to how they curate an inclusive culture that in particular encourages more women from all backgrounds to apply to join the service.

Rowley, in a recent BBC Radio 4[3]interview made clear his desire to recruit more female police officers as well as officers from a diverse range of backgrounds in order to reflect Londoner’s ‘culture and heritage’ and encourage them to be part of the change that must be made to the MPS. We are urging the MPS to urgently tackle reform. Time and effort will be required to bring about the changes needed concerning the culture within the MPS that have been justifiably raised and the relationship the service has with Londoners. Despite having a policing system that is based on the Peelian principle of policing by consent, Baroness Casey perhaps summed up the current state of affairs best in saying that the consent of Londoners “can no longer be assumed.”[4]


[1] GLA (2023) Population Projections https://apps.london.gov.uk/population-projections/

[2] Baroness Casey Reviw (2023) https://www.met.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/media/downloads/met/about-us/baroness-casey-review/update-march-2023/baroness-casey-review-march-2023.pdf 332

[3] BBC (2023) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-london-65189471  

[4]  Baroness CaseyReviw (2023) https://www.met.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/media/downloads/met/about-us/baroness-casey-review/update-march-2023/baroness-casey-review-march-2023.pdf 345

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