The Metropolitan Police Service are currently under special measures, having to demonstrate how they're improving in light of past and ongoing scandals and indictments. Their institutional racism and misogyny have (again) been demonstrated by clear facts in the recent Casey Report: poor recruitment and vetting procedures have made it easy for men with violent histories to enter the force; complaints against officers for racism, sexism and violence rarely lead to their dismissal. The culture of impunity has continued, 30 years after Stephen Lawrence was murdered, where the Met Police were first publicly acknowledged as 'institutionally racist.' Since then, the treatment of women as victims of violence and abuse by officers has come further into the spotlight. 

The women's sector holds an important stake in the police force. As frontline service providers to women and girls who have experienced violence and abuse, our jobs often entail daily contact with the police and criminal justice system. In the absence of alternatives, we need them to hold male perpetrators to account. At the same time, and as activists and/or women who have encountered police racism and misogyny, our trust in them has been repeatedly undermined. 

While the cases that have brought the Met Police into special measures have been horrific, as a sector, we must use this time of reckoning as an opportunity to try and improve the police. TO that end, we were very happy to have Sophie Linden and Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, from the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) respectively, join the sector for two events to discuss ways forward. 

Below is the link to the first of two reports that came out of these two events, which sought to forge more collaboration between the women's sector and the police. We need to weed out violent and dangerous officers. We need an overhaul of the misconduct tribunal process that sees so many men get away with rape and abuse. We need to see cultural change in a system that has, up until now, proved itself impervious to the root and branch reform that is needed. We want to see better transparency and accountability procedures. We want real women's sector involvement in decision-making and scrutiny of the police. 

We hope these events, in the spirit of common aims, will lay the groundwork for further collaboration and improvement. We include action points and recommendations that we will keep trying to push forward. Our safety and lives depend on it.