Met Police hires 50 new investigators to work in its professional standards department to ‘rebuild trust’ in wake of Sarah Everard murder as it begins review into ALL sexual and domestic abuse claims against officers
The Metropolitan Police Service has hired dozens of officers at its complaints department to try to save its battered public image after Sarah Everard‘s murder.
The force revealed 50 more investigators were brought in to the Directorate of Professional Standards to address its nosediving reputation.
Top brass want them to immediately launch action to ‘begin rebuilding the trust of London‘s communities’.
The desperate move comes in the wake of a series of scandals that have rocked the Met, leaving its relationship with the public in tatters.
The kidnap, rape and murder of Ms Everard in March by serving policeman Wayne Couzens kickstarted a year plagued with shame for the force.
Since then another has been found guilty of gross misconduct after sexually assaulting two teenage girls at a nightclub.
Meanwhile two officers this month admitted sharing ‘sickening’ photos of two women’s dead bodies with 42 colleagues on WhatsApp.
Despite all these Commissioner Cressida Dick has refused to step beside and clung on to her job amid claims ‘there was nobody else’ to replace her.
The Metropolitan Police has hired dozens of officers at its complaints department to try to save its battered public image after Sarah Everard’s murder. Pictured: Dame Cressida Dick
The force (pictured, its HQ at New Scotland Yard) revealed 50 more investigators were brought in to the Directorate of Professional Standards to address its nosediving reputation
The desperate move comes in the wake of a series of scandals that have rocked the Met, leaving its relationship with the public in tatters. The kidnap, rape and murder of Ms Everard (pictured) in March by serving policeman Wayne Couzens kickstarted a year plague with shame for the force
The Met today said 50 new investigators were deployed on November 1 to the Directorate of Professional Standards to deal with complaints.
The force said the workers had been brought in to ‘strengthen our capability and to do more to prevent and identify the abuse of trust by our people’.
It also revealed its urgent review into 300 claims of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse against staff, which will be done by spring.
This is being undertaken alongside a dip sampling review of 100 cases from the past against officers – ten per year for the last ten years.
Meanwhile the Met published the the terms of reference for a review by Baroness Casey into the culture and standards of behaviour across the Met.
It also revealed a specific review of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command – which Couzins belonged to – has begun.
Meanwhile the Met published the the terms of reference for a review by Baroness Casey (pictured) into the culture and standards of behaviour across the Met
Baroness Casey: over 20 years in service
Baroness Casey of Blackstock, who was a public servant and in government, has scathingly criticised the Government in recent years.
Baroness Casey is a former Director General of the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Her interests have included homelessness and in 2003, she became director of the national Anti-Social Behaviour Unit.
Two years later, she was appointed to become the head of the Respect Task Force.
She became the UK’s first ever Victims’ Commisioner in 2010 and in 2015, she was appointed Director General of the government’s Troubled Families programme and reviewed community cohesion and extremism in the UK.
It was 2017 when she left the civil service but returned last February when she was appointed to lead a review into rough sleeping. She also took part in a Government coronavirus press conference in May last year.
But amid the Covid pandemic, Baroness Casey launched blistering attacks on the Government, criticising the coronavirus cash scheme.
Earlier this year, she warned the Tories risk being seen as ‘the nasty party’ if the Chancellor axes a £20 increase in Universal Credit – which has been withdrawn this month.
Baroness Casey said if the increase was withdrawn at the end of March, it would be ‘too punitive’ for families struggling during the pandemic.
‘The Treasury need to step back and not feel this constant responsibility to close the books all the time and fight and fight and fight,’ she said, mimicking Theresa May’s jibe in 2002.
‘They need to step back and think if we really want to rebuild Britain, what type of economic policy do we need to put in place that will … not take the knees out from under people.
‘To remove that £20 a week – it’s too punitive, it’s not the right thing to do, and I think they just go back to being the nasty party.’
And in December 2020, she criticised the Government, saying people could be forced to ‘prostitute themselves’ to ‘put food on the table’ as the Covid support is inadequate.
In the attack, she warned measures to support employees not working during lockdowns would not ‘cut it’.
The ex-civil servant, who advised Labour and Tory governments but stepped down when she was awarded a peerage, voiced fears the UK was headed for a period of ‘destitution’.
Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne said Baroness Casey had gone ‘over the top’ and ‘undermined her argument’.
Baroness Casey told BBC News: ‘Do we want to go back to the days where people can’t put shoes on the children’s feet? Are we actually asking people in places like Liverpool to go out and prostitute themselves, so that they could put food on the table?’
She said it was wrong for Downing Street to have a sense that ‘people will make do’ because they ‘weren’t coping before Covid’.
But an HM Treasury spokesman said: ‘This is misleading. As the Chancellor made clear in the House of Commons, and leading think tanks have pointed out, the Job Support Scheme is generous by international standards.’
Commander Rachel Williams said: ‘We’ve heard loud and clear the dismay and disappointment in us as a police service, of how people, and women in particular, have questioned whether they can trust us to keep them safe.
‘We depend on the trust of the public. It is fundamental to our core purpose of keeping the public safe.
‘We cannot and are not waiting for the findings of ongoing inquiries to begin rebuilding trust.’
Couzens kidnapped Ms Everard using his Met Police handcuffs in Clapham Common in March before raping her, killing her and hiding her body in Kent.
He pleaded guilty to murder in June and was sentenced to a whole life order in September.
The Home Secretary said this week a independent probe into her death will be given greater powers if the newly-appointed chairwoman feels unable to fulfil her remit.
Priti Patel announced Dame Elish Angiolini QC, a former lord advocate of Scotland, has agreed to take up the position to chair the two-part inquiry.
The first part of the inquiry will establish a comprehensive account of Couzens’ conduct throughout his career in policing, including looking for whether any red flags were missed and whether allegations made against him were properly handled.
It will draw on ongoing investigations by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
The second part of the inquiry will look at specific issues raised by part one, which will report to the Home Secretary as soon as possible.
Ms Patel, who branded Couzens a ‘monster’, said the inquiry will proceed on a non-statutory basis in a bid to give Ms Everard’s family ‘closure as quickly as possible’.
She added to MPs: ‘Statutory inquiries can be long-running with limited flexibility, sometimes recommendations are not made for a number of years.
‘However, I will not rule out converting this onto a statutory footing should Dame Elish feel that she’s unable to fulfil the terms of reference on a non-statutory basis.
‘Sarah Everard’s life was ended too early by an evil man whose job it was to protect her.
‘We owe it to her and her loved ones and her family to prevent something like this from ever happening again.’
Earlier confirming the appointment, Ms Patel said: ‘Dame Elish is an exceptionally distinguished lawyer, academic and public servant.
‘Her extensive experience includes a review of deaths in police custody, as well as a review for the Scottish Government on the handling of complaints and alleged misconduct against police officers.’
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds welcomed the appointment, but added: ‘Put it on a statutory footing now.
‘The Daniel Morgan Inquiry was on a non-statutory basis and still took eight years so time is not the argument not to do it.’
Dame Elish said in a statement: ‘I am deeply honoured to have been asked to chair this vital inquiry, which comes at a pivotal moment for policing.
‘The murder of Sarah Everard was profoundly shocking and I will ensure that the issues raised from this dreadful tragedy are fully investigated and the necessary lessons learned.’
Couzens (pictured) kidnapped Ms Everard using his Met Police handcuffs in Clapham Common in March before raping her, killing her and hiding her body in Kent
Last month Met Police PC David Henigan, of the Road Transport Policing Command, was found guilty of gross misconduct.
He was found to have sexually assaulted two teenage girls at a nightclub in south west London in 2019.
Meanwhile earlier this month officers PC Deniz Jaffer and PC Jamie Lewis admitted sharing ‘sickening’ photos of two bodies with 42 colleagues on WhatsApp.
They were supposed to protect the scene after sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, were found stabbed to death in Wembley, London.
But they breached the cordon to take ‘inappropriate’ photographs of the bodies, which were sent ‘to a dentist and doctor’, and a WhatsApp group.
Jaffer took four photographs and Lewis took two – one of which was sent to a female colleague with Lewis’s face superimposed onto it.
Unmasked: PC Jaffer, 47, was charged with misconduct in a public office over the pictures
Pc Jamie Lewis leaves the Old Bailey, after pleading guilty to misconduct in a public office
Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, who were stabbed to death in Wembley last year
Police watchdog the IOPC later revealed Lewis also used ‘degrading and sexist language’ to describe the victims in the WhatsApp team group of 42 colleagues.
The Met revealed a new 44-question handcuff policy this week but it was branded ’embarrassing’ and blasted for treating trained police officers like children’.
The policy on handcuffing tells officers to ask themselves 44 questions before arresting a suspect and details the procedure in a child-style ABC guide.
Its mammoth decision process is laid out in full in the new 25-page document published by Scotland Yard.
It puts into official policy nearly 50 questions officers should consider when they are using the police-issue restraints.
The questions include, ‘What could go wrong (and what could go well)?’, ‘What is happening?’, and, ‘What do I not know?’.
Other advice to mull over also includes, ‘Do I need to take action immediately?’ and ‘What would the victim or community affected expect of me in this situation?’
Most are from the College of Policing’s National Decision Model but are now enshrined in the official equipment policy.
It is not clear what the Met’s previous policy on the police restraint tactic had been.
Cressida Dick: The scandals on her watch
Shooting dead of Tube passenger in 2005
Cressida Dick was Gold Commander in charge of the operation which resulted in an innocent man being shot dead on July 22, 2005.
Surveillance officers searching for those responsible for the failed terror attacks the day before shot Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes after he entered Stockwell underground station.
Two years later the Met was found guilty of a series of errors around the tragedy, although Dame Cressida was exonerated.
She continued to support her officers saying they had acted in accordance with information they had at the time. Sources have described the control room where the ill-fated operation was run as ‘utterly chaotic’.
Surveillance officers searching for those responsible for the failed terror attacks the day before shot Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes
‘Culture of cover up’ over fantastist Nick
Operation Midland resulted in the targeting of high-profile individuals after a fantasist falsely claimed he was the childhood victim of a paedophile ring.
Taking the preposterous claims of Carl Beech – aka ‘Nick’ – at face value, Met officers searched the homes of former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, Lord Bramall the former chief of defence staff, and Lady Brittan, widow of the former Tory home secretary Leon Brittan.
Operation Midland collapsed in March 2016. No charges or arrests were made. Beech was later convicted of fraud and perverting the course of justice and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
An inquiry by retired high court judge, Sir Richard Henriques, found more than 40 failings in the police operation.
A subsequent damning report revealed that the Met had delayed implementing most of the reforms and Dame Cressida, who had been briefly involved in the original operation as assistant commissioner, faced pressure to resign.
Sir Richard later called for a criminal investigation into five detectives and said confidence in the criminal justice system had been damaged.
Amid allegations of a Met cover-up, Home Secretary Priti Patel is under mounting pressure to instigate a series of new independent inquiries into Midland.
Dame Cressida is not out of the woods on this one. In a bombshell interview in the Mail in February, Lady Brittan threw the book at the Met over its ‘culture of cover up and flick away’ under the Commissioner, who has repeatedly defended Steve Rodhouse, the serial bungling senior officer in charge of Midland. Further developments on the Midland scandal are expected in the coming weeks.
Easy ride for eco mob
In 2019, much of Britain was amazed as thousands of climate change protesters brought central London to a standstill.
Roads around Parliament Square, Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch were blocked for days but the police seemed powerless to intervene.
Dame Cressida later said that Extinction Rebellion came in larger numbers than expected and used new tactics, but admitted police should have responded quicker.
In 2019, much of Britain was amazed as thousands of climate change protesters brought central London to a standstill
Axe death corruption
In 1987, private detective Daniel Morgan was found dead in a car park with an axe embedded in his head.
No one has ever been convicted over his killing.
Last month, the Met was described as ‘institutionally corrupt’ and Dame Cressida herself was personally censured for obstruction following an eight year independent inquiry.
She was named as one of those responsible for delaying the panel’s access to the police database.
Last week Mr Morgan’s brother Alastair called on her to resign.
In 1987, private detective Daniel Morgan, pictured, was found dead in a car park with an axe embedded in his head
Gun cop abducts and murders Sarah Everard
When PC Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty last week to the murder of Sarah Everard, Dame Cressida described his actions as a crime that had ‘sickened, angered and devastated’ the Met.
Couzens, a former diplomatic protection officer, abducted Miss Everard, 33, from a south London street in March.
It later emerged 12 police officers allegedly failed to investigate previous incidents of indecent exposure by Couzens.
A key question, which Dame Cressida needs to answer, is how was an individual like Couzens accepted into the Met. What vetting did, or didn’t, take place?
She also faced criticism over whether the Met acted in a ‘heavy-handed’ manner arresting women at a vigil for Miss Everard on Clapham Common.
A report by Sir Thomas Winsor, the chief inspector of constabulary later concluded that Met officers had acted ‘lawfully, sensitively and proportionately’.
Questions over her top brass
Dame Cressida has made a number of highly questionable senior appointments since taking charge of the Met four years ago.
She brought Sir Stephen House out of retirement to be her deputy three years after he stepped down as Chief Constable of Scotland after a series of controversies.
He is seen as her key enforcer and protector, as is Helen Ball, another key ally who is one of her assistant commissioners.
Ms Ball has been by accused by Harvey Proctor of blocking legitimate complaints about Operation Midland.
Incredibly Dame Cressida also promoted a senior officer found guilty of bullying at Essex Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matthew Horne, to be head of professional standards.
Selfies taken beside bodies
After the sickening, random murders of sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, in a park in Wembley last June, Dame Cressida admitted there was ‘much more to be done’ to improve trust in the force.
Officers were not sent out to look for the women, pictured, until 36 hours after they were last seen alive.
Even more appallingly, two police have also been charged over taking selfies with the women’s bodies when they were supposed to be guarding the crime scene.
The women’s mother, Mina Smallman, a retired archdeacon, said police had ‘made assumptions’ about her daughters because they were black.
Last week, Danyal Hussein, 19, was convicted at the Old Bailey of the women’s murders.
Sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, were murdered in a park in Wembley last June