Wednesday, 21 February, 2024

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Disturbing cases revealed in Met Police review

Disturbing cases revealed in Met Police review

A damning report into Britain’s biggest police force has uncovered some specific examples of alarming incidents

The Casey review has unearthed a series of alarming case studies that expose the state of the Metropolitan Police.

– While working on sexual offences unit Sapphire, officer G said multiple officers would be needed to close freezers holding forensic samples because they were so full.

“She told the review that the unit’s freezers, which held and preserved evidence obtained from victims and survivors of sexual violence including swabs, blood, urine and underwear, would be so full it would take three officers to close them: one person to push the door closed, one person to hold it shut, and one to secure the lock.

“All the fridges used for rape kits were in bad shape, packed and ruining evidence.

“In the heatwave in 2022, G said that one freezer broke down and all of the evidence had to be destroyed because it could no longer be used.

“G said a general email had been sent round to this effect and that it meant that all those cases of alleged rape would be dropped.

“G also said she had ‘lost count’ of the number of times she had asked a colleague where the necessary evidence was, before being told that it had been lost.”

One male colleague also failed to understand why a case was a violent rape.

“He actually said ‘if I put my d*** in your arse, you said ‘ow’, you were screaming and I stopped because you were screaming, is that still a rape?’ I was just asking which team needed to deal with it.”

Another quipped while dealing with an historical rape allegation: “Well if you’d told me 10 years ago, I’d get to talk about sex all day I’d never have believed it”.

G also claimed that officers were told to delete WhatsApp messages during meetings about the internal campaign Not In My Met, designed to encourage officers and staff to speak out about discrimination.

“G says that during the briefing she attended officers were encouraged to delete their WhatsApp messages.

“She says officers were told: ‘We don’t want more people handing their phones in, take a look at your WhatsApps and Facebook statuses and messages, look carefully, they’re coming for everyone now, protect yourselves.’

“G says she knows of colleagues in other locations who received the same message at their briefings.”

She said she witnessed multiple examples of bullying of younger, female colleagues. One senior male officer told a more junior woman: “I will break you.”

He insisted on sending her alone to harrowing scenes such as car crashes or where someone had fallen from a tall building.

– H, a black, female officer said male colleagues were “sex obsessed” and would openly rate and grade female colleagues and members of the public on their appearance.

“H says during this time she was often described by male officers as ‘job fit’ – a term she understood to mean women at work who they thought were ‘attractive for a police officer’.

“H says young, female officers were ‘traded like cattle’ and moved on to different units depending on which male officers found them attractive.”

She moved on to another unit that had a strict dress code, and on one occasion was told her hair looked like she had been in an ‘electricity socket’ 10 minutes after she had taken a shower following a physical training session.

She said initiation rituals were common in that unit.

“She says women were pressured to compete in food-eating challenges to initiate them into the team, and described women being forced to eat whole cheesecakes until they would vomit.

“On one occasion she was told of a male officer being sexually assaulted in the showers as part of their own initiation, something she says officers would openly talk and joke about on the unit.

“Those who refused to participate were ostracised and considered ‘not to be part of the team’.”

She had a controlling and coercive relationship with a more senior officer, who she claims made malicious allegations against her when they split up, leading to her arrest and being put through the misconduct system.

H said she feared being labelled as a troublemaker if she complained and being either ostracised or moved.

“You have to try and be invisible as a black woman…If you complain you get a reputation as being trouble and then supervisors try and pass you on to other teams.”

“It’s a ‘learn your place’ culture. Except your place is never there… At first I thought it was about being a Special [Constable]. Then I realised it was just the Met.

“And as time went on it became more obvious that it was also about being black and a woman”

– One officer said the detection rate – the proportion of cases where a suspect has been identified – for rape is so low that it has basically been legalised in London.

They said: “If you look at our performance around rape, serious sexual offences, the detection rate is so low you may as well say it’s legal in London.

“It’s kind of reflective of how we treat and view our female colleagues. You get victim blaming, looking at a situation and not believing [them].”

– An officer called A, who was beaten and raped multiple times by fellow Met officer X, was so distraught by the force’s handling of the case she tried to take her own life.

The case was passed between six different investigators in a year, with A being asked to give her account of what had happened each time, and being forced to move team to get away from her abuser.

She said: “I was getting so angry and so frustrated with them and I decided I couldn’t do it any more, I’m done, I need to get on with my life, I was in an absolute state, I had tried to kill myself that year because of the police investigation, it was draining the life out of me.”

After two years of investigation, no action was taken.

– Openly gay officer E has been targeted with false rumours that he takes recreational drugs and has been involved in sexual relationships with senior officers, and been treated favourably as a result.

He has seen WhatsApp messages exchanged by colleagues planning to target him with stop and search while he is off-duty, and has been the victim of malicious calls to the force’s internal, anonymous reporting line.

E has also been targeted with homophobic abuse from anonymous accounts on social media.

“This will sound quite laughable. I am scared of the police. I don’t trust my own organisation. I will vary the route I walk to avoid walking past police officers when I am not at work.”

– The report also highlighted officers who were bullied because of their religious beliefs.

It said: “There have been a number of incidents where baptised [Sikh] officers are picked on.

“One officer had his beard cut because an officer thought it was funny.

“Another officer had his turban put into a shoe box because they thought it was funny.”

Muslims have also been targeted.

The report said: “A Muslim officer told us: ‘I found bacon left in my boots inside my locked locker. I was horrified but kept an open mind as to who this could be.

“I was hoping to identify who the culprit was and take appropriate action. I didn’t want to be branded a person who played the race card and out of fear of reprisals did not tell anyone at the time’.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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