It is the most damning report in the near 200-year history of Scotland Yard.
Baroness Casey blasted the Metropolitan Police, saying that bullying and predatory behaviour reigned, bosses were unable to spot rapists in the ranks and victims were made to feel like an ‘inconvenience’.
In excoriating detail her review set out how the Met lost its way.
Baroness Casey pictured arriving at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre yesterday for the press briefing of her review into the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service
Baroness Casey’s report has set out how the Met Police has lost its way. Pictured: File image
CRUCIAL RAPE EVIDENCE LOST WHEN FREEZERS FAIL
Evidence from countless rape probes has been destroyed because of broken fridges and freezers, the review found. A lunchbox was found in the same fridge as rape samples – a mistake that would have contaminated the evidence.
Forensic kits that preserve evidence obtained from survivors of sexual violence, including swabs, blood, urine and underwear, are stuffed in fridges so full it takes three officers to close them – one to push the door closed, one 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, Baroness Casey found. She described freezers overflowing with evidence samples, frosted over or taped shut. In a heatwave last year, one broke down and all rape victims whose samples were in that fridge were told their cases would be dropped.
Pictured is rapist and murderer PC Wayne Couzens who served in the Met Police
One female officer 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.
Another officer told of year-long waits for toxicology results and forensic examination of phones. Separately police are being told to regularly delete their WhatsApps in the wake of a string of scandals about officers swapping vile messages with each other.
Deputy Commissioner Dame Lynne Owens admitted yesterday that she did not know how many cases had been dropped as a result of the fridge issues.
BULLYING BAKED INTO THE SYSTEM
Baroness Casey described a ‘bullying culture’ where discrimination was ‘baked into the system’.
Young recruits are subjected to humiliating initiation rituals right from the beginning of their careers, including food eating challenges and being urinated on. One officer was even allegedly sexually assaulted in a shower. Examples of ‘pranks’ included bags of urine being thrown at cars, sex toys slipped into coffee mugs, male officers flicking each other’s genitals and an animal being trapped in an officer’s locker.
One Muslim officer said: ‘I found bacon left in my boots inside my locked locker. I was horrified. 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.’
Another recalled: ‘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.’
ARMED UNITS ARE THE ‘DARK CORNER’
The report said Scotland Yard’s armed units were a ‘dark corner’ of the force.
Baroness Casey described ‘elitist attitudes and toxic cultures of bullying, racism, sexism and ableism’ in the Specialist Firearms Command and Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, where Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens and serial rapist David Carrick were officers.
In the ‘boys’ club’, senior armed officers have competitions to see if they can make female colleagues cry and put up posters in common areas showing female firearms officers carrying mops, irons and kettles instead of weapons. One officer said: ‘It’s the most toxic, racist, sexist place I’ve ever worked – it’s just an unbelievable place.’
Pictured is serial rapist PC David Carrick who served in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command
In one instance a black guard was referred to as a ‘gate monkey’ by colleagues. Officers are also told it is alright to ‘colour outside the lines’ – meaning to bend and break rules – because firearms police are harder to replace. The review found that officers ‘game the system’ to cash in on overtime and other bonuses, wasting public money on unnecessary overseas training trips and hotel rooms. The unit is known as ‘overtime command’ and officers join to pay off their weddings and top up their pensions.
Baroness Casey said it should be shut down, adding: ‘It is a dark corner of the Met where poor behaviours can easily flourish and are both harder to spot and harder to stop.’
A TOXIC WORKPLACE FOR WOMEN
Tales abound of young female officers being ‘traded like cattle’ and moved to different units depending on which male officers found them attractive. One female officer recalled a colleague forcing her to sit on his lap before touching her intimately and performing a sex act while she was in communal changing rooms. On another occasion he forcibly started to undress her while they were on duty.
When she complained the case was dropped and she was made out to be a ‘troublemaker’. One female officer said: ‘The Met is a male-orientated and misogynistic environment filled with testosterone, notches on bed posts and conquests. Senior officers and supervisors prey on females like predators.’
HOMOPHOBIA RIFE AMONG THE RANKS
Almost one in five lesbian, gay, or bisexual staff surveyed said they had experienced homophobia and 14 per cent said it was once or twice a week.
One male officer was targeted on social media with homophobic slurs and malicious rumours about drugs.
WhatsApp messages were exchanged by colleagues about stopping and searching him while he was off duty. He told the review: ‘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.’
Baroness Casey said the force was institutionally homophobic, adding that 30 per cent of LGBTQ+ employees said they had been bullied.
Pictured is Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley
‘WILFUL BLINDNESS’ TO INSTITUTIONAL RACISM
The review found the force was institutionally racist and had failed to tackle the ‘rot’ present for many years. Black officers were 81 per cent more likely to be subject to a misconduct case than white officers.
One senior officer was openly asked in a large meeting in 2022: ‘Did you get to where you got to because you are black.’
And a black woman told the review: ‘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.’
The 363-page report also acknowledged disproportionality – with black Londoners being ‘overpoliced’. It concluded there was a ‘wilful blindness’ and continued failure by commanders at Scotland Yard to accept and to address racism.