21 March 2023
Culture change across the entire service is desperately needed, as police officers, police staff and the public who are victims of discriminatory behaviour are being failed nationwide, not just in the Metropolitan Police Service.
Baroness Casey’s independent review into standards of behaviour and the internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service, has brought to the fore a multitude of issues which require action across the police service in England and Wales.
The report highlighted how complainants of unacceptable behaviour are not believed and racist, misogynist, homophobic and other discriminatory acts are tolerated, ignored, or dismissed as ‘banter’.
It also found female officers and staff routinely face sexism and misogyny, and widespread bullying, particularly of those with protected characteristics.
This has been attributed to the “absence of vigilance” and an ingrained culture whereby speaking up is frowned upon.
Furthermore, Baroness Casey’s report found officers and staff do not believe that action will be taken when concerns around conduct are raised, dissuading officers and staff from reporting misconduct.
These findings echo His Majesty’s Inspectorate of the Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services’ report on vetting, misconduct and misogyny, published in November last year.
Baroness Casey said: “We know many Met officers and staff uphold high professional standards and good conduct. We know that some of what they do is world-beating. But in order to support them and enable them to stay world-class we have to look at and accept what is wrong, learn from it, change and move forwards.”
Responding to the report, PFEW National Chair Steve Hartshorn, said: “The report has raised many serious issues that cannot be ignored and need to be properly addressed if officers can have confidence in the system in which they work and the public can once again have confidence in policing.
“The weight and seriousness of the findings demonstrate that rightly, the focus now should be the fundamental changes that need to be undertaken to improve our service for the public and our members.
“Culture change is desperately needed across all forces to tackle these grievous issues, not just within the Met. This starts from the top through directive, ethical leadership. The Police Federation of England and Wales will play its part working with chiefs across the 43 forces to reflect and take action on the recommendations the report has identified based on its conclusions.
“We must nurture a culture of learning and development, including better training for Professional Standards Departments, to stamp out toxic attitudes and behaviours. The vast majority of officers come into the police service to protect the public and they act with integrity and respect.
“I fully agree with Baroness Casey that in order for us to stay world-class we have to accept what is wrong, learn from it, change and move forwards.”
The report also recommends the Government grants the Commissioner new powers, including providing chief constables the right of appeal to a Police Appeals Tribunal following a misconduct hearing when they conclude the sanction is inadequate.
PFEW will be championing the continued use of legally qualified chairs (LQCs) who play a vital role in ensuring police misconduct hearings are fair and transparent.
Mr Hartshorn explained: “For the process to be transparent and just, it is vital LQCs, alongside panels consisting of police and members of the public, can do their job and not feel influenced by chief constables and undue political and social pressures.”