Today, on Tuesday 21st March, 2023, also UN anti-racism day, Baroness Dame Louise Casey’s year long investigation into the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service was published as the Casey Review. ARE attended a press conference with colleagues from the Alliance of Police Accountability outside Scotland Yard following its release.
In recent high-profile cases such as Sarah Everard’s, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman’s, and Sabina Nessa’s, it has become clear to many people what Black communities, women and members of the LGBTQ+ community have known for decades: that racism, alongside misogyny and homophobia, across the Metropolitan Police damages the lives of civilians and the institution’s own minoritized staff members.
With little or no accountability held over misconduct, complaints and grievance processes, it is time for change in every part of the Police service in London.
ARE welcomes Baroness Casey’s review as a clear intervention and call to action. This is a defining moment for the Metropolitan Police and for other police forces across the country. We hope that lessons – long overdue – are finally learnt, and the Met’s Senior Leaders, including the Commissioner Mark Rowley, heed this warning seriously.
Whilst ARE supports the Commissioner’s desire to transform the culture across the Metropolitan Police, we are deeply concerned that he is unwilling to accept the force as being institutionally racist.
From our work with Black communities, we know language matters in tackling racism and all forms of discrimination. The Commissioner’s reluctance to use the term, officially associated with the Metropolitan Police by the MacPherson Report following Stephen Lawrence’s murder 25 years ago, will undermine his efforts to build trust with London’s Black communities.
We urgently need to put an end to the Metropolitan Police’s failures to protect the lives of women, Black, Asian, Muslim, and ethnic minority Londoners, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. All of these groups are rightfully wary of the police force as an institution, following its years failing to safeguard lives, and truly act as a safe, honest service for all Londoners.
Jeremy Crook OBE, Chief Executive of ARE, following a press conference at Scotland Yard, commented:
“The Casey Review has put all eyes on the Metropolitan Police. We must not lose this moment. It is good to see that the Mayor of London is chairing a new police board. It is vital that this should include former Black and Asian officers with lived experience of racism, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, local councillors and Black community representatives. Everyone on the board must be committed to removing racism, misogyny, homophobia and all forms of discrimination within the Met.
The Met and all other police services must have zero tolerance on racism. There are hundreds of officers in the Met that should not be in the organisation. Systems matter, but its also about the people that lie at the heart of it – about attitudes, behaviours and culture – and then what’s done by leadership to vet and remove them, and inoculate against future harm.
We all want a London police service that young Black and Asian people feel safe going to, and where police officers from ethnic minority backgrounds can join, and make a real difference their own communities, without the fear of racism from their own police colleagues. We cannot wait until 2061 for the Met to reflect London’s ethnic diversity.”
Action for Race Equality is a member of the Alliance for Police Accountability (APA) and is committed to developing better accountability structures between the police and Black communities so trust and confidence can start to improve from a record low.