Met Police chief powerless to sack cops like PC David Carrick

Met Police apologises over forces' David Carrick failure

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner “doesn’t have the power” to fire rogue officers and staff, according to a former Greater Manchester chief constable. This comes as figures, reported in The i, show the amount of officer dismissals has almost halved in the past 12 months. Former Greater Manchester Chief Constable, Sir Peter Fahy, warned Sir Mark Rowley, the Met’s current top officer, will find it very difficult to remove the “hundreds” of offending officers from the force, due to protective employment laws.

The i’s analysis showed the number of officers in England and Wales dismissed from their force fell from 432 in the year ending March 2021, to 218 over the next 12 month period.

The Home Office has said a change to the regulations around police misconduct regulations in 2020, render the comparison between the two data sets incomparable.

On Tuesday evening, however, Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced there was to be a review of police misconduct procedures, given concerns about the “low numbers” of officers being sacked in the wake of the PC David Carrick case.

The review, announced by the Home Secretary, will report back in four months and could see chiefs put in charge of all misconduct hearings, instead of independent panels chaired by lawyers.

As well as looking at the difficulties with which chiefs can get rid of rogue officers, it will also assess the ease with which probationary officers can be removed from their force if they don’t perform.

Ms Braverman has warned however she is bracing for more “shocking cases” to come to light, in the wake of the Carrick scandal.

Carrick admitted to 49 sexual offence and domestic abuse charges, including 24 counts of rape. The former armed officer, who served with the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, joined the force from the army and was vetted in 2001 – the year he joined the Met – and in 2017.

Carrick committed crimes against 12 women over 20 years, locking some in a cupboard under his stairs, urinating on others, and controlling when they could eat, sleep and speak to their families.

The sex offender, a resident of Stevenage, was formally dismissed on Tuesday after a sped up misconduct hearing by the Met Police.

Concerns about Carrick were raised on nine occasions, the force conceded, and the Met is now undertaking a review of more than 1,600 sexual misconduct cases made against more than 1,000 officers.

Met Police boss Sir Mark told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he will “put in place ruthless systems to squeeze out those who shouldn’t be with us”.

Former Greater Manchester police chief, Sir Peter, said London’s highest-ranking police figure does not have the teeth to be able to enact his radical culling of the force’s bad apples.

The i reported that Sir Peter said: “Mark [Rowley] hasn’t got the powers to do that, all he can do is get them in front of a tribunal, and he still has to provide the evidence.

“He’s got to use the situation and put some pressure on the Home Office and say ‘look we need to acknowledge this and provide me with some political cover’. I do think the Home Office will try and move this forward, I’m sure the Home Secretary is fairly shocked.”

Sir Peter told the outlet that legislation brought in during the 1990s and early 2000s is to blame for the difficulty forces have in removing bad cops. Employers have the legal burden to justify their reasons for dismissing staff.

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He said: “They moved people about and made decisions that certain people were persona non grata, even when I joined there were people you knew were never going to get promoted, although it was never clear why.

“A lot of that was quite unhealthy, if you fell out with the wrong person you were going to be stuffed. With the adoption of employment law, police officers had all the same rights as any other employer, the right to a tribunal, grievance procedures, having HR departments, a lot of that is really good stuff.

“But the trouble is bringing that world of grievances into an organisation with a criminal justice mindset.”

Sir Peter said given the challenges facing forces trying to sack officers they suspect don’t deserve to wear the uniform, the process can take a lot of time and cost a lot of money.

He added: “These cases drag on for years and get nowhere, I’m sure Mark [Rowley] walked in to a number of cases that had been going on for years.

“I’m still involved in a case that goes back to 2010, there are KCs [King’s Counsel lawyers] on both sides and it’s being funded by the Police Federation and you think ‘where will this end?’ That’s the stuff Mark is walking into unless the Home Office is prepared to make changes.”

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