'Good officers get excommunicated for raising issues': Dawn Butler on 'broken' Met Police

29 June 2022, 16:32

By Fiona Jones

'Good officers are scared to raise issues about the Met Police for fear of being excommunicated', revealed MP Dawn Butler, calling for total reform of the institution.

The MP's comments came after the Metropolitan Police was placed under special measures by a watchdog for a litany of "systemic" failures.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services cited "substantial and persistent concerns" about performance including failures to stamp out corruption and scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard, the strip-search of Child Q and officers being caught exchanging offensive messages.

Labour's Dawn Butler told LBC that well-meaning officers have expressed fear at raising issues within the institution because as soon as they do, they are "excluded and excommunicated."

The Brent MP, who works closely with the Met, has submitted two letters to the Home Secretary in the last 24 hours, both welcoming the new measures and campaigning for the election of a new Commissioner to be halted during this period.

"We need to ensure that confidence in the police is built amongst Londoners, at the moment it's at the lowest and that's in all sections of the community," Labour's Dawn Butler told Shelagh Fogarty.

"Women haven't got trust in the police, LGBTQI+ community haven't got trust in the police, there's a whole section of the community that are saying, 'Hang on a minute, there's something going on in the Met Police."

Ms Butler clarified that not all Met Police officers are bad, the special measures highlight that "there's something wrong with the institution that has allowed a serving police officer to rape and kill a young woman."

"Or take photographs of the bodies of two dead young women murdered," added Shelagh, referring to the Met officers Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis who were sentenced to two years and nine months for taking and sharing photos of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry.

Ms Butler, who has worked closely with the Met, elaborated, "The good police officers are thanking me because a lot of them are actually scared because as soon as they raise issues, they get shot down, they get excommunicated. They're not spoken to. They are excluded.

"And that's why they need to be under investigation and that's why we have to be honest about the problems."

She called for a shift away from the public versus police officers; she cited more public involvement in the reforming of the police and also ending the mindset of "protecting officers at all costs."

"Some are so obsessed with protecting each other that they are refusing to get rid of the bad ones," Ms Butler said.

In a letter to acting commissioner Stephen House yesterday, the boss at HM Inspectorate of Constabulary [HMIC] Matt Parr said there were "several examples of high profile incidents" which raise concerns about the Met's performance and "are likely to have a chilling effect on public trust and confidence in the Met".

The letter states the "cumulative effect" of all the Met's failures outweighs any successes it may have had.

As a result, the Met is to be placed into special measures, and will be subject to external monitoring and reviews by the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs Council.

It will be scrutinised more, required to report to inspectors more regularly and may need to hit certain crime-fighting targets.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said: "A series of appalling scandals have not only exposed deep cultural problems but have damaged the confidence of Londoners in the capital’s police service.

"The decision by the HMIC to now move the Met into special measures has laid bare the substantial performance failings by the force.

"As I have been saying for some time, Londoners deserve better. That’s why we now need to see nothing less than a new contract forged between the police and the public in London.

"This means root and branch reforms and systemic change to the Met's performance and culture."

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