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Root and Branch Reform Now A Necessity For Sir Mark Rowley’s Met

Root and Branch Reform Now A Necessity For Sir Mark Rowley’s Met

Categories: Latest News

Monday September 12 2022

The Metropolitan Police (Met) has been embroiled in yet more controversy after it emerged that a black man was left gasping for breath following an illegal stop and search incident where the man was allegedly choked. Such an incident comes on the back of a change in leadership following a series of scandals that damaged public confidence. Despite this, racism and Islamophobia remain rampant, indicating the necessity of institutional reform.

Indeed, Operation Hotton’s uncovering of a deep-rooted cultural problem of racism, sexism and Islamophobia within the Met further fragmented its relationship with Londoners. Revelations of horrific exchanges of messages, which were racist, sexist and Islamophobic in nature led the Independent Office for Police Conduct to describe the behaviour of such officers as “disgraceful”, and further commented, “We believe these incidents are not isolated or simply the behaviour of a few ‘bad apples’”. This led to the resignation of former Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, lost confidence in her leadership. Following the resignation of Dame Cressida, Mr Khan stressed that the Met needed to regain the trust of all Londoners, suggesting the need for a ‘root-and-branch’ reform. Inevitably, there now lies an expectation on Sir Mark, the new chief commissioner, to work on bridging relations with the wider community and firmly commit to stamping out the persistent institutional problems within the Met.

Recent incidents however have further compounded the issue, as a trial of three Met officers revealed the existence of WhatsApp groups where messages were sent between officers joking about rape, domestic violence, Muslims and racial minorities. The culture behind closed doors alludes to the toxic environment within the Met. Commenting on the issue, Andy George, president of the National Black Police Association mentioned “We’ve taken it out of canteens, out of mainstream documents and put it on WhatsApp groups and anonymous police social media accounts”, in reference to the ‘progress’ made in rooting out racism.

Though there are signs of positive change, racism continues to persist within the institution. New guidance from the College of Policing has been issued to police forces across England and Wales to sack officers guilty of racism or domestic abuse. Whilst MEND commends such initiatives, more needs to be done to regain public confidence. The Met still remains in denial over institutional racism, hampering any expectation for reform.

As it stands, the Met is fractured and its reputation has been brought into disrepute. A ‘root-and-branch’ reform is critical if the Met is to ever regain public confidence. Despite the Met’s commitment “to being a service that earns the trust of all Londoners”, this seems a far-off aspiration at the present time.

MEND continues to call for positive change, and has always worked with police forces across the UK, including the Met, to tackle racist and Islamophobic hate crime. As such, we invite Sir Mark to meet us and other Muslim organisations to ensure that he understands what is needed to tackle institutional racism and Islamophobia in the Met.


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