From the Commissioner
We recognise the grave levels of public concern following the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard and the sentencing of the police officer responsible.
There is no question that we have been rocked by what has happened. Other deeply troubling incidents and allegations raise further difficult questions for us.
We know a precious bond has been broken and I am committed to rebuilding the trust and confidence of all Londoners.
I recognise that for some this may be a significant ask. The Met has huge numbers of wonderfully professional officers and staff but I also recognise the actions of some are of serious concern and fall far below our standards.
In the coming weeks I will be publishing an action plan that sets out the steps we are taking to improve our response to violence against women and girls and how we tackle issues women and girls tell us make them feel unsafe.
Our work to rebuild trust focuses on how we will raise standards and ensure we have a positive, supportive and healthy culture that sets an example for all to follow.
This week I announced an independent review of our standards and culture. I can now confirm that this will be led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock, supported by an external reference group. This independent external review will include how we combat misconduct, drive up our standards for better behaviour among our ranks - including our use of social media and messaging apps - as well as how we can react more openly when things go wrong and improve our transparency as an organisation.
I want this independent review to be bold and far reaching. I look forward to the challenge and insight it will bring, and the recommendations it will make. But I know that on some matters we cannot wait. I do recognise the scale of public concern.
That is why I am now explaining the immediate actions we are already taking to rebuild public trust in police standards.
These include an urgent review of all current investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse against our officers and staff to make certain that those who made the allegations are being properly supported and the investigations are comprehensive.
This will encompass a thorough review of the vetting history of those under investigation to reassure the public and ourselves that our internal processes are the best they can be.
We will urgently dip sample cases from the last 10 years where sexual misconduct and domestic abuse allegations have been made and those accused remain in the Met, to ensure that appropriate management measures (including vetting reviews) have been taken.
We will also undertake a root and branch review of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, with a particular focus on recruitment, vetting, culture, professional standards and supervision.
Furthermore, we will increase the number of investigators within our dedicated unit investigating police misconduct (Professional Standards department) to strengthen our proactive capability and prevent instances of our people abusing their positions of trust.
We will create a dedicated team to focus on the investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse made against our officers and staff.
These are necessary and substantial commitments that we will deliver at pace. I hope they go some way to provide immediate and vital reassurance to Londoners. Let me be clear, this initial plan of immediate actions is not the full answer – far from it.
It will not represent our full response to the pressing concerns that have been raised. I will publish an enhanced plan later this year based on all feedback we receive and further work internally, and the plan will continually build and strengthen in response to emerging insights and recommendations from the independent external reviewer.
My commitment to Londoners is to be open and transparent about the immediate steps we are taking and how this response will develop and strengthen further over the coming months.
A dedicated team has been mobilised to support delivery of this work, led full-time by Commander Rachel Williams. I pledge here that they will be given whatever they need to drill deep into our ways of working and make fast progress.
Compassionate, courageous, professional and always acting with integrity. This is the Met I want everyone to know. I ask you to judge us on how we turn these words into action.
We are committed to upholding the highest professional and personal standards for all involved in policing – by setting clear expectations, supporting staff to challenge poor behaviour and dealing swiftly and robustly with those who fall short of our standards.
This is even more essential because of the powers and authority we hold. As a service we are bound by the national Code of Ethics; a key priority in our strategy the Met Direction is for us to be recognised as a responsible, exemplary and ethical organisation.
We work closely with the National Policing Lead for Standards and we are committed to ensuring we drive and support compliance. We are committed to reviewing policies in key areas as set out below.
Internally, we have a management board lead for professionalism, at chief constable level and a dedicated Professional Standards department comprising of over 350 officers and staff.
We will continue to promote and encourage our people to step forward and raise concerns they have about any behaviours in the workplace. This is supported by our ‘Raising Concerns Policy’ that was launched in June this year across the Met, with the support of senior leaders after extensive consultation and consideration.
The policy and communications campaign highlighted the number of different ways people can report concerns either anonymously or in person and the commitment we will give to support them in these circumstances. This approach is far wider than just the legal position of ‘whistle blower’ and covers anyone raising any concerns at all about workplace behaviour.
We will continue to reinforce the effectiveness of these confidential reporting lines, reassure and support our people who bravely step forward and look for new ways to encourage internal reporting.
In our view, a national review of vetting standards, policy and practice is a top priority because of public concern about vetting. This should include ensuring the standards set in the Authorised Professional Practice (the official and most up-to-date source of policing practice owned by the College of Policing) are sufficient in a modern context.
Below are a number of actions to strengthen our approach to raising standards.
Our immediate priorities
- We will complete an urgent review of all current investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse against our officers and staff to make certain that those who made the allegations are being properly supported and the investigations are comprehensive. This will encompass a thorough review of the vetting history of those under investigation to reassure the public and ourselves that our internal processes are the best they can be.
- We will urgently dip sample cases from the last 10 years where sexual misconduct and domestic abuse allegations have been made and those accused remain in the Met, to ensure that appropriate management measures (including vetting reviews) have been taken.
- We will commission a root and branch review of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. With a strong focus on external challenge, this review will have particular focus on recruitment, vetting, culture, professional standards and supervision. This work will not be constrained by the current operating model and will take account of the view of the stakeholders in this critical security function.
- We will increase the number of investigators within our dedicated unit investigating police misconduct (Professional Standards department) to strengthen our proactive capability and prevent instances of our people abusing their positions of trust. We will create a new dedicated team focused on the investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse (replicating our existing team which investigates all serious discrimination cases). This will improve our ability to identify patterns of concerning online and ‘real world’ behaviours in the workplace.
- We will respond quickly to the findings or recommendations from the review work being undertaken by HMICFRS on our vetting processes.
- We will expedite the rollout of new warrant cards to improve security and urgently explore the capability to provide the public the ability to scan new passes to confirm authenticity.
- We will require all Line Managers to speak to every officer and staff member to reinforce the standards that must be upheld in regards to misuse of social media and messaging apps; predatory behaviours; and reinforcing a proactive duty to stop any inappropriate behaviours. This will be strengthened in coming weeks through a strong and sustained internal communications campaign.
Improving our culture
The Met are actively leading a number of initiatives to create a supportive culture. We have made considerable progress towards being a more inclusive organisation and recently launched the Strategy for Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement 2021-25 and subsequent reporting cycle to monitor progress.
Despite this, we are aware that there are groups that do not feel they belong and there is more to do to deliver the step change in culture we want to see.
We have delivered an ambitious leadership programme reaching all 10,000 Met leaders to create an inclusive and open working environment. We are focused on ensuring all our leaders understand what it takes to lead a working environment that is truly inclusive.
We have developed a strong and wide-reaching internal Network of Women, alongside a HeforShe network in every part of the organisation to strengthen an inclusive environment for all, under the personal sponsorship of the Deputy Commissioner.
We have fostered a vibrant and impactful network of staff support associations, reflecting the diversity of London. We have set stretching ambitions for the diversity of our new recruits.
Our staff survey is completed twice annually. The results are routinely published within our business plan with more specific team and demographic detail shared internally. We now publish the overall results of our staff survey on the external website. The insight from our staff survey demonstrates that women overall are more engaged than male colleagues, however, women in the Met feel less confident to raise concerns over wrong doing and this is a priority that we are seeking to address.
We continue to promote a culture of learning: through changes to improving our service in response to feedback, through innovation and empowering people to test new ideas and learn from others.
Our immediate priorities
- We will deliver Operation Signa - an internal programme to ensure our people actively intervene and challenge inappropriate behaviours built on the feedback of women in the Met, to increase confidence of reporting sexual harassment and unacceptable conduct.
- We will shortly complete delivery of the next phase of our leadership programme (Leading for London), with the current campaign focused on the skills needed to excel in inclusive leadership. This will be followed by a second campaign focused on creating high performing (and inclusive) teams.
- We will actively address any differential outcomes we see in Staff Survey returns (looking at all protected characteristics – in particular gender and race), with staff survey outcomes as one important measure of our progress on organisational culture.
- We will continue to invest in leadership development for women and underrepresented groups seeking promotion and/or lateral development - including workshop and coaching/mentoring structures. Increasing visible role models within the Met will create a virtuous circle, supporting progression and external recruitment - better reflecting London’s demographics.
- We are rewriting our flexible working policy to actively support the employment of our workforce – especially women at all levels and in all commands of the Met, including expanding even further our commitment to flexible working models that promote a positive work-life balance. A retention taskforce utilising exit interview analysis to ensure we tackle any systemic issues.
Doing our job well - protecting women and girls
Our vision is to be the most trusted police service in the world, focusing on what matters most to Londoners and keeping London safe for everyone. We will improve our detection rates for key crimes including rape and serious sexual offences. We are working hard with London-based and national partners to prevent crime, support victims and deliver the best criminal justice outcomes.
We publish our business plan and performance framework setting out the full extent of the Met’s operational response in London. We are held to account for the policing of London by MOPAC and others. We are clear we need to do even more to deal with violence against women, and we recognise the direct link here with rebuilding trust in police standards.
In recent months we have increased even further our visibility across London. We are growing Neighbourhood Policing ‘Town Centre’ teams focused on urban centres and particular wards of London investing a further 650 dedicated officers, who will be patrolling public spaces and night time economy venues to ensure people feel safe. In addition, we have deployed a stronger presence in 'hotspot' locations, targeting patrols of open spaces across London, transport hubs and other key locations.
We have implemented Predatory Offender Units, working hard to tackle high harm offenders. The Predatory Offender Units have arrested more than 2,150 dangerous criminals. These include 1,312 arrests for domestic abuse offences, 378 for sexual offences and 115 for child abuse offences. Additionally these units have obtained 154 judicial restrictions and executed 175 search warrants.
We are delivering against our new Public Protection Improvement Plan, across five priority areas: child abuse, rape and sexual offences (including indecent exposure), domestic abuse, hate crime and missing people. We will complete delivery of new specialist training on domestic abuse to over 8,000 frontline constables and sergeants.
Our immediate priorities
We will publish our refreshed action plan for the police response in London to tackling Violence against Women and Girls in the coming weeks. Work already underway includes:
- Piloting a GPS tagging system for high-risk domestic abusers perpetrators in partnership with the Probation Service and MOPAC.
- Working closely with the hospitality sector and those involved in the night-time economy to raise awareness of how they can help tackle behaviours in their premises to keep women safe and feeling safe.
- Utilising methods such as the Safer Street app pilot, to prevent crime by better understanding where members of the public flag places they feel unsafe in and why, allowing us to respond and deploy resources effectively.
- Encouraging the use of the Ask for Angela campaign – working with Safer Sounds and nighttime economy venues delivering a refreshed “Ask for Angela” campaign (alert system working with the licensing trade), which will be pushed during comprehensive training.
- Working with the Home Office and MOPAC, we are a pilot force for Operation Soteria which includes trialling an important new approach for rape and sexual offence investigations focusing resources with the aim of stopping and challenging repeat offenders.
How we will deliver
The Commissioner is leading our crucial work to rebuild trust in the Met. Every single one of us in the Met realise that it will take time to rebuild the public’s trust. This statement sets out our immediate priorities. These will be further strengthened with recommendations from the independent external review and further work internally and with our partners over the coming months.
We have created a specific Management Board focused on rebuilding trust; this Board agreed this plan this week and will, among other things, oversee delivery against this plan. This Board will work in tandem with our independent external reviewer.
The Commissioner has appointed Commander Rachel Williams to coordinate the delivery of this plan, working with leaders across the Met.
We are finalising our Violence against Women and Girls Action Plan and are currently liaising with key stakeholders and partners. It will be published in the coming weeks. Delivery of our Violence against Women and Girls Action Plan will primarily be driven through our Management Board on performance and there are of course very important links to this plan.
We welcome the non-statutory public inquiry, which the Home Secretary announced on 5 October and will work closely with the appointed QC and support them in any way we can.
Met Direction is our strategy to 2025 and our mission is to be the most trusted police service in the world. The Commissioner and our Management Board are responsible for delivering our strategy and we are overseen by the Mayor of London.
We will report against progress on our crucial work to rebuild trust through our quarterly business plan updates which are published, as well as through a range of other scrutiny and opportunities to discuss with the public.