Metropolitan Police problems ‘not a few bad apples’, chief admits

Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Stephen House admitted cultural issues within the force are ‘not a few bad apples’.

Giving evidence to the select Home Affairs Committee, Sir Stephen, who temporarily heads Britain’s largest police force, said efforts were being made to root out unacceptable behavior “as quickly as possible”.

The Met has faced a series of damaging scandals, including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens, offensive messages exchanged by a Charing Cross team and the strip search of a teenage girl at school when she was on her period.

Former Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens will die in prison for the rape and murder of Sarah Everard (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Sir Stephen said: “There is a major campaign going on within the organization to confront this totally unacceptable behaviour, to root it out and to remove people who display this behavior from the organization as quickly as possible and to the right way.”

When asked if it was “just a few people”, he replied: “People have been talking about a few bad apples, clearly that is not the situation at all, these are not not a few bad apples.

“You can’t just say that Wayne Couzens and a few other people did something wrong – that was the spearhead of the problem I would say, but there is a bigger problem within the organization that we recognize and treat. .”

Committee chairwoman Dame Diana Johnson suggested the public view Met officers as TV characters Jack Regan from Sweeney or Gene Hunt from Life On Mars, “rather than a modern professional policeman”.

Sir Stephen is temporarily running the Met until a permanent replacement is appointed this summer, after his predecessor, Dame Cressida Dick, quit her job amid a confrontation with London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

He told the committee he was “delighted” that former Constabulary Chief Inspector Sir Tom Winsor was carrying out a review to determine whether due process had been followed when he left, and said he had already been in contact.

Sir Stephen, who asked the Home Office to carry out the review, said: ‘I don’t think the process was followed correctly in this case.

Dame Cressida Dick who resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner in a shock move earlier this year
Dame Cressida Dick resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner in a shock move earlier this year (Victoria Jones/PA)

Police forces in England and Wales are trying to recruit 20,000 officers by next year to replace jobs cut during austerity measures.

Sir Stephen said he was now ‘less confident’ the Met will achieve its goals, with the force expected to attract 40,000 applicants next year to replace departing officers and attract 1,800 new entrants.

He said: “We need to recruit just over 4,000 officers over the next 12 months.

“This means we need around 40,000 applications over the next 12 months, as we take around one in 10 people who apply with us.”

A strategic review of police services last month suggested that officers should hold licenses that would be renewed every five years.

Sir Stephen said he would “not be opposed” to a regime similar to that used for doctors.

“From time to time checking that someone is still up to the job, doing things the right way, is aware of recent legal developments because the law changes all the time, that’s not a bad thing to do,” he said.

“We would certainly expect doctors to know what recent developments are, what drugs, etc., what treatments, we should expect the same from police officers, and there are constant changes.”

But Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, who also testified on Wednesday, stressed that it should not “become a bureaucratic exercise in itself.”

About Jerry Richter

Check Also

Blackburn Rovers player ratings after Hudderfield Town win

Thomas Kaminsky seven Was well protected by Rovers’ defensive effort, his best save seeing him …