Home Secretary ‘dangerously complacent’ in Casey review response – Labour
Suella Braverman has been accused by Labour of delivering a “dangerously complacent” response to a scathing review of the Metropolitan Police.
The Home Secretary said she would ensure the force has “all the support” it needs from central government to deliver on Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley’s pledge of “more trust, less crime and high standards”.
Ms Braverman added that the Home Office is reviewing the police dismissals process to ensure officers who fall short of expected standards can be “quickly” dismissed.
The Met and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan must also be judged “not on their words but on their actions”, Ms Braverman told MPs.
But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Ms Braverman’s statement to the Commons contained “no new action” and involved “simply words saying that the Met must change”.
Baroness Louise Casey found the force is institutionally racist, misogynist and homophobic. Her review was commissioned after the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by then-serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens.
Ms Braverman said “I back the police” as she opened her Commons statement before adding: “But there have been growing concerns around the performance of the Metropolitan Police and its ability to command the confidence and trust of Londoners.
“This follows a series of abhorrent cases of officers who betrayed the public’s trust and hideously abused their powers.”
She noted the report makes “very concerning reading” and shows the force “faces a long road to recovery”.
She said: “Baroness Casey is clear that Sir Mark and deputy commissioner Lynne Owens accept the scale of these challenges, and I know this to be true from my own work with them.
“I will ensure that the Metropolitan Police have all the support from central government they need to deliver on Sir Mark’s pledge of more trust, less crime and high standards.
“Every officer in the force needs to be part of making these changes happen.”
Ms Braverman went on: “It is vital that the law-abiding public do not face a threat from the police themselves.
“Those who are not fit to wear the uniform must be prevented from doing so, and where they are revealed, they must be driven out of the force and face justice.”
For Labour, Ms Cooper said the report is “thorough, forensic and truly damning” before noting: “It finds consent is broken, management of the force has failed, frontline policing – especially neighbourhood policing – has been deprioritised and degraded after a decade of austerity in which the Met has ended up with £0.7 billion less than at the beginning of the decade.
“It finds the Met is failing women and children, that predatory and unacceptable behaviour has been allowed to flourish and it finds institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia.”
Ms Cooper said Labour supports the work Sir Mark is doing to “start turning the Met around”, adding: “He and his team must go much further in response to the Casey review.
“But I am concerned that the Home Secretary’s statement is dangerously complacent. Astonishingly there is no new action set out in her response, simply words saying that the Met must change. This is a continuation of the hands-off Home Office response that Baroness Casey criticises in her report.”
Ms Cooper questioned how the Government would tackle misogyny, homophobia and racism highlighted in the Met Police when Ms Braverman has urged officers not to focus on “woke” issues.
She also called on the Government to set out how it would address officers accused of domestic abuse and sexual assault in police forces across the UK.
The Labour frontbencher said: “The failure to root out officers who have been involved in domestic abuse and sexual assault also applies in other forces. The failure to tackle culture has gone wrong in other forces too. Problems in Gwent, Hampshire, Police Scotland, Sussex, Leicestershire and more.
“It is a disgrace that there still are not mandatory requirements on vetting and training underpinned by law, that misconduct systems are still too weak.
“I urge her to commit now that anyone under investigation for domestic abuse or sexual assault will be automatically suspended from their role as a police officer and that anyone with any kind of history of domestic abuse or sexual assault will not be given any chance to become a police officer.”
Ms Braverman attracted groans from the Opposition benches when she replied to Ms Cooper: “I must say that I am disappointed… by her tone. Today is not a day for crass political point-scoring; it is a day for serious and sober consideration of the Met’s shortcomings and how those shortcomings have a devastating impact on people’s lives.”
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