Following the publication of the Casey report into the Metropolitan Police’s (Met) culture, former police and fire watchdog Zoe Billingham has claimed that the force has a “legacy of lapse and lacks standards”. Speaking about the report, which detailed instances of homophobic, misogynistic and racist behaviour among serving officers, Billingham maintained that while she did not believe the police necessarily bred negative attitudes, the organisation had failed to set and maintain standards. Billingham, who is overseeing investigations into police perpetrators in the force, indicated that Sir Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner, faced a huge task in cleansing the organisation of “bad apples”.
The Met’s Specialist Firearms Command and Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection teams were particularly criticised in the Casey report. Two ex-police officers, David Carrick and Wayne Couzens, were members of the latter force and are known to have used their positions to abuse those that they were supposed to be protecting. Carrick and Couzens’ actions exemplified failures to vet such abusers out of the force. Ex-police superintendent Shabman Chaudhri, stated that such behaviour was part of society, which police represented. She suggested that instead of simply focusing on culture change, the units should be disbanded and handed over to the military.
Mark Rowley said he found the report “disturbing and heart-breaking”. Lady Casey, who wrote the report, said that she had been “personally shocked” by the revelation of some of the behaviours of certain officers. Despite the findings, ministers have suggested that the report would not affect calls for greater resources for police. Meanwhile, Rowley retired on Tuesday. He has been replaced as commissioner on a temporary basis by Craig Mackay until a permanent appointment can be made.
In an interview with The Times, the new lead for counter-terrorism policing, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, defended the force stating that “professional and ethical standards cannot contradict our fundamental role in society and our experience of it”.