The Metropolitan Police Service needs to change

Thursday, 30th June

police

‘Londoners have been horrified to find out about a culture of racism, sexism and homophobia in the MPS’

• THE reputation of the Metropolitan Police Service has been shredded by the recent revelations about shameful and criminal police officer behaviour and a failure to listen to the people calling it out.

Londoners have been horrified to find out about a culture of racism, sexism and homophobia in the MPS.

I have raised each revelation, as it has been exposed, with the commissioner and deputy commissioners through my work as a member of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee.

But rather than acknowledging the problem and using these incidents as evidence of rooting out bad apples, and even bad barrels, the MPS response has been defensive, which has only worsened trust and confidence in the police.

The MPS’s rotten culture must be transformed for the better, the next commissioner must be on the front foot, communicating clearly, listening and acting on difficult feedback, in order to build trust with all of London’s communities.

To make the MPS fit for policing a proudly diverse and socially progressive city like London there must be a root and branch review of police culture and the use of intrusive and harmful policing tactics, especially when policing black and young people.

Last year also saw the highest number of youth homicides in London on record. It should be neither inevitable nor acceptable that so many people are murdered in London.

The new commissioner should set a clear target of zero homicides. It’s a target we have for road deaths, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have the same target in terms of the worst violent crime.

But this also goes beyond the need to simply change the commissioner; leading this change will need an open conversation about the reform required with officers, MPS leadership, and politicians. And, vitally, it must be led by Londoners.

CAROLINE RUSSELL
Green Party
London Assembly Member

Related Articles