The Metropolitan Police has been to be placed into special measures by a police watchdog in the wake of a series of scandals, including the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services has sent a letter to Met bosses to say there have been “substantial and persistent concerns” about the force and that it will now be subject to extra monitoring as a part of an “Engage phase”, according to LBC.
This will mean that the watchdog will force the Met to come up with a plan to improve its culture, while also being under extra scrutiny by HMICFRS.
In his letter to acting Met commissioner Sir Stephen House, HMICFRS chief Matt Parr said “several examples of high profile incidents”, such as the Everard murder and the Charing Cross police station scandal, “are likely to have a chilling effect on public trust and confidence in the Met”.
Parr also cited the stop and search of Team GB olympian Bianca Williams – she and her husband were pulled from their car and handcuffed while five officers searched the vehicle.
Williams said the incident showed a “culture of racism” with the Met and the five officers are now being investigated under gross misconduct charges.
A HMICFRS spokesman said: “We can confirm that we are now monitoring the Metropolitan Police Service through our Engage process, which provides additional scrutiny and support to help it make improvements.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he welcomed the decision to put the Met into special measures.
“Unlike many others, I have long been clear that wide-ranging reforms are urgently needed for the Met to regain the trust and confidence of Londoners – which is so vital to policing by consent,” he said.
“A series of appalling scandals have not only exposed deep cultural problems but have damaged the confidence of Londoners in the capital’s police service.
“The decision by the HMIC to now move the Met into special measures has laid bare the substantial performance failings by the force.”
Former Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick was forced out of her job, after a series of scandals that blighted her time as London’s top cop.
She was forced out by Khan after a report into the Charing Cross police station found widespread racism, misogyny and homophobia.
She was also in charge when the Met undertook an extensive investigation into a fictional VIP paedophile ring, which was made up by fantasist Carl Beech.
Dick was roundly criticised for the scandal, which saw people’s lives and reputations ruined.
Home secretary Priti Patel said: “I expect the police to get the basics right. It is clear the Metropolitan Police Service is falling short of these expectations which is why I support the action that HMICFRS has taken today to highlight their failings – and I expect the Met and the London mayor to take immediate action to begin addressing them.
“The process to recruit a new commissioner is well under way and I have made clear that the successful candidate must demonstrate sustained improvements in the Metropolitan Police Service in order to regain public trust both in London and across the country.”