Families demand urgent overhaul over Met Police after damning report

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Bereaved families let down by the Metropolitan Police have demanded change after a review found the force was institutionally racist, misogynist and homophobic. Relatives of the victims of Stephen Port, who was left free to murder three men after blunders in probing his first killing, called for a public inquiry to understand “how and why this force is failing people so badly”.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence, whose son Stephen was murdered by racists in 1993 before police bungled the investigation, said Britain’s ­largest force was “rotten to the core”.

They spoke out after the publication of a review by Baroness Louise Casey, commissioned in the wake of the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Met officer Wayne Couzens in 2021. That was followed by the February jailing of PC David Carrick for 24 rapes.

The 363-page findings found the Met to be “institutionally” racist, misogynist and homophobic – a term new Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on Tuesday refused to acknowledge.

Jamie Klingler, of Reclaim The Streets, said: “Nothing’s been done to prevent another Couzens or Carrick. Why wouldn’t we expect another?

“There is no question there are more men on the force who are capable of the violence they carried out.”

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Jamie added that the review would make uncomfortable reading for former Met Commissioner Cressida Dick who “just wanted to call it bad apples or a one-off”.

She said: “At what point is it a rotten orchard? It is not good enough just to acknowledge the racism. The organisation has to be anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-homophobic. The bar has to be set higher, it is on the floor.”

Baroness Lawrence gave her damning indictment almost a quarter of a century after the 1999 Macpherson Report into her son’s murder made the same finding of institutional racism. Only two of Stephen’s alleged five killers have been brought to justice, following an investigation marred by ­racism and alleged ­corruption.

Baroness Lawrence said: “It is not, and has never been, a case of a few ‘bad apples’ within the Metropolitan Police.

“It is rotten to the core. Discrimination is ­institutionalised within the Met and it needs changing from top to bottom.”

Donna and Jenny Taylor, sisters of serial killer Port’s fourth victim Jack Taylor, believe the case would have been handled ­differently had their brother not been gay. They said: “Someone needs to take responsibility for tackling homophobia. Someone needs to own it.”

In December 2021, inquest jurors found “fundamental failures” by the police left Port free to murder. He also drugged and sexually assaulted more than a dozen other men in Barking, east London, between June 2014 and September 2015.

The Met was accused of homophobia over the failure to stop him but force bosses repeatedly denied it.

In her stinging report Baroness Casey said the Met could no longer presume to have public consent and was “a breeding ground for ­misogynists” and a “magnet for ­bullies”. One woman officer said rape convictions were so low in the £4billion service that the crime was effectively legal in London.

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The report included reports of a lunchbox left in a fridge storing DNA evidence from rape ­victims – ­contaminating every case.

Women staff said they were treated “like cattle” and male officers were driven by “testosterone, notches on bedposts and conquests”.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman warned the “serious failures of culture, leadership and standards” could take years to fully address.

She added: “It is vital the ­law-abiding public do not face a threat from the police themselves. Those who are not fit to wear the ­uniform must be prevented from doing so – and where they are revealed they must be driven out.”

Andrea Simon, Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “This damning report leaves the Met nowhere to hide when it comes to the depth of its institutional misogyny, racism and homophobia.”

The Police Federation’s Ken Marsh said: “We absolutely accept the findings but we have to be a little bit careful. Are we saying every Met officer is racist and homophobic? That is quite dangerous.”

Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley accepted the evidence of ­racism, misogyny and homophobia. But he would not use the term institutional because it “ means different things to different people”.

Baroness Casey’s report makes 16 recommendations.

They include setting up an independent team to handle ­sexual misconduct, domestic abuse and discrimination allegations among ­officers, tougher vetting of recruits, and making fighting violence against women a priority.

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