Former Met Police officers call for force to be reviewed after Cressida Dick leaves
Two former Met Police officers say the current system is not ‘suitable’ at Scotland Yard following a series of scandals, which led to the resignation of Dame Cressida Dick.
Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Two former Met Police officers have called on the force to completely overhaul its vetting system after Dame Cressida Dick quit as commissioner amid allegations of misogyny and racism.
Alice Vinten, 40, was a police officer at the Met for 11 years and says the current system is no longer “fit for purpose”.
She said: “I think all officers need to be re-checked and the initial vetting process needs to be strengthened.
“Cressida’s resignation will not resolve or resolve systemic misogyny at the Met.”
Mum-of-two Alice left the force in 2015 as the macho culture left her “discouraged”.
She says that without an overhaul of the vetting system and training, the three officers who worked with Sarah Everard’s killer, Wayne Couzens, and allegedly shared racist and misogynistic messages with him “still have the power to follow in his footsteps. “.
“That’s a terrifying thought,” Alice said.
“I don’t think changing the commissioner will do anything to change the culture – it has to be from the bottom up and the male officers have to challenge each other. It has to be a bystander action.
“A lot of men join the behavior because of the Met’s ‘us and them’ mentality – if you don’t join you get a reputation for betraying the team and betraying your family.
“It’s a gang mentality. And sometimes people have been fired for speaking out about these things.”
Dame Dick resigned from office on Thursday after London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “unhappy” that she could “eradicate racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny that still exist” in the force.
He followed high-profile cases of sexism and misogyny among some Met officers.
Mr Khan said the final straw was the police watchdog’s report of 14 cops who joked about rape, LGBT people and violence against women in WhatsApp messages.
He said he was “shocked” and that the “commissioner’s response fell short of the change required in the Met Police Service”.
It comes after Scotland Yard also came under fire for its handling of the Downing Street party and the murder of Ms Everard.
Dame Cressida became the first woman to lead the UK’s largest police force in 2017.
Former Met Superintendent Nusrit Mehtab, who was at the Met for 32 years, said a non-police officer should take on the role in order to destroy institutionalized culture.
She said: “I think for the first time we need an independent elected position with a non-police officer in charge.
“They don’t have to be an operational officer – I think we can see a commissioner for the first time who is not a police officer, and that person can then totally gut the bridges of management and assess policies and procedures.
“A high-ranking officer will become part of the institutionalized culture and then feed it down.”
Nusrit also agrees that “the verification and recruitment system needs a complete overhaul”.
She added: “The culture has gotten worse over the past five years and that’s because Cressida has failed to grasp and control systemic racism and misogyny.
“Over the past five years there’s been a lot of navel gazing and she’s been denying misogyny and racism and supporting her officers – the control is gone and that culture has been able to flourish.
“She’s made her bed and she has to lie in it. It’s like a parent denying a child’s bad behavior.
“The officers support her because she hasn’t reprimanded any of them and that’s why this toxic culture has gotten out of control.
“Policies, procedures and conduct need a complete overhaul and there must be safe spaces for whistleblowers who are harassed, hunted down and expelled from the force.”
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A statement from Scotland Yard said: “The Commissioner has asked Baroness Louise Casey to conduct an independent and thorough review of our culture and standards of professional and personal behavior. The review will ask tough questions to ensure lasting improvements of the service we provide to all Londoners.
“While this process is ongoing, we recognize that we need to take urgent steps to improve. We have already increased the number of investigators in our Professional Standards Department to strengthen our ability to root out people who abuse their position of trust.
“We are listening to Londoners, stakeholders and our partners. We recognize that change will not happen overnight, but we are all committed to doing everything we can to improve.”