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Sadiq Khan backs calls for change in dismissal rules

The London Assembly Police and Crime Committee has today published a report following an investigation into the IOPC and how police complaints are handled.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has asked the Home Secretary to take urgent action to reform police regulations governing misconduct. 

In response to the recent turmoil in the Met, the Police and Crime Committee launched an investigation into the IOPC and how police complaints are handled.

In findings published today, the Committee found that there is a “fraught” relationship between Met officers and the IOPC

Chair of the Police and Crime Committee Susan Hall wrote: “During this investigation we have encountered a system of lengthy investigations causing real pain for victims, complainants and officers. The police complaints and conduct system is governed by highly complex regulations. It is unsurprising that it the system is poorly understood by the public.

“We were dissatisfied that senior officers are not in charge of who can be dismissed from their force. This is supported by Baroness Louise Casey’s recent review of the Met’s misconduct system, which described appalling cases of officers getting away with breaking the law and misconduct.” ­

Sir Mark Rowley has already written to the Home Secretary to seek changes in regulations in order to act more "decisively". 

In 2021-22, 90 per cent of allegations logged by the Met were handled formally, 24 per cent of these were subject to formal investigation, either by the Met or the IOPC, and 74 allegations led to an officer being found to have a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct.

Between February 2020 and July 2022, 46 Met officers were independently investigated by the IOPC of which 17 were dismissed, or would have been if still serving, 19 received a final written warning, management advice or no further action and 10 had their case found not proven.

While the estimated cost to the Met of suspended staff alone is over £3,736,924.

The Met’s DPS has said many officers believe the IOPC is “out to get them”, while the Met Federation have accused the IOPC of being politically motivated in some of its actions – specifically the timing of the Op Hotton report.

The IOPC however has said that officers do not always co-operate with investigations and that collecting statements from officers could sometimes be a “drawn out” process. The Fed said they have never been made aware by the body that an officer has not co-operated.

Other conclusions from the investigation included that the Met still does not know how to effectively respond to the increasing footage posted online of policing incidents and that while the IOPC makes learning recommendations to the force, the body does not track their progress.

Eight recommendations were made:

Chairman of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, Susan Hall AM, said:

“The Metropolitan Police and its thousands of dedicated officers do vital work to keep Londoners safe. But too many disturbing scandals involving the force have eroded trust and confidence in the police among Londoners and the Mayor must act to address this.

“The Committee is concerned that the police complaints system is further damaging the public’s perception of the police and Baroness Louise Casey’s recent review supports this.

“Our investigation found it to be a frustratingly slow and complicated system of lengthy investigations causing real pain for victims, complainants and officers.

“The highly fraught relationship between Met officers and the IOPC is unlikely to be helping matters and we hope that they will work collaboratively in implementing the report recommendations.

“The thousands of dedicated officers in the force are entitled to a clear, transparent and effective conduct and complaints system that delivers for Londoners. The Mayor and the Government should take forward our recommendations as soon as possible.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London, said: “The Mayor has led the way in ensuring that the Met is now on a path of far-reaching systematic and cultural reform, with the new Commissioner acknowledging the scale of the problems within the Met and taking action to address them.

“The Mayor has also asked the Home Secretary to take urgent action to reform police regulations governing misconduct to help raise standards in the police, and he has been clear that the police need more power over misconduct processes, which is so vital to restoring the trust and confidence of Londoners. Sadiq will continue to make the case for this and hold the Met to account so that progress is made. This must include rooting out all police officers found to be responsible for unacceptable behaviour, such as sexism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, bullying or harassment.

“The Mayor has also been clear that, following the recent Baroness Casey Review, the Met has to make urgent changes to fix its existing misconduct system, which is simply not fit for purpose. That is why he is committed to making sure the Met implements every single recommendation of this review and that all future misconduct allegations are acted upon quickly and cases are resolved much faster. The Mayor is doing everything he can to support Sir Mark and he has welcomed the Met’s new Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command Unit, which is working to clean up the force.”

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