"It's an organisation that is long on hubris and quite short on humility," 

says Baroness Casey, author of the report into the Metropolitan Police Service, (MPS) which has set out, in full, all the evidence that has led to her judgement that it is institutionally misogynistic, racist and homophobic.

Instead of seeing this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to implement root and branch reform, instead of using the findings as a lever to crack open and try and change the culture within the MPS, their new Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has said he is not willing to use the word “institutional” because it had become politicised and means “different things to different people”.

This does not inspire us with confidence. Instead, it highlights a continued defensiveness that makes us question whether change will happen. 

We need to look at how that institution, the MPS, operates; its policies, procedures, accountability practices. We need to look at how the institution enables and reproduces racism, misogyny and homophobia, not just the individual mind-sets of certain officers and leaders. 

If the MPS are not looking ‘institutionally’, any fundamental reform is unlikely. We need to look institutionally at their vetting procedures to weed out those who are racist, who have a history of violence against women, who have links to the far right or organised crime. It means looking at internal misconduct tribunals, who sits on them and why they are making the decisions they do. It is about looking at how certain crimes are resourced at the expense of others and examining how information is shared within the MPS and with what aims.

We know that this report has spearheaded a window of opportunity where we can press for fundamental change within the MPS - and policing in general for the benefit of women, girls and all discriminated against groups and victims.

But, given their historical failures to tackle these institutionalised issues, we cannot be content with what the MPS themselves decides. We echo the voices of thousands of women and stand in solidarity with them in calling for: 

  • a wholesale commitment to enact all of Baroness Casey’s recommendations.
  • independent scrutiny of all MPS proposals and action plans, which includes women’s sector representation that is fully resourced. 
  • independent scrutiny panels that have the power to intervene and sanction, not just ‘advise’.