Met Police Failure To Spot Wrongdoing Among Its Officers Calls For Urgent Improvement

Met Police Failure To Spot Wrongdoing Among Its Officers Calls For Urgent Improvement

By Emily Caulkett-

A watchdog has raised “serious concerns” about the performance of the Metropolitan Police following its latest inspection, after its finding that supervisors are so busy that they fail to spot the wrongdoings of its officers.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said Scotland Yard must make urgent improvements as it published its 2021/22 assessment of the force.

The watchdog said that Metropolitan police supervisors supposed to spot failing officers are so over worked training new recruits that they are missing wrongdoing, an official inspection report has found.

The report reveals the setbacks plaguing Britain’s biggest force which led to it being branded a failing force and placed in special measures in June amid fears its failings would otherwise get even worse.

The full report from the inspectorate, released on Thursday, identified several failings including tens of thousands of crimes and offenders being missed, emergency callers dialling 999 waiting too long for help and the Met’s former leadership failing to act on repeated warnings and calls to improve from the official inspectorate.

“In some teams, notably public protection teams, inexperienced staff were holding cases that they were not fully equipped to deal with and lacked supervisory support.”

Call handling response times saw just over six out of 10 emergency calls answered in time, when the required standard is nine out of 10. Key details such as vulnerability failed to be recorded: “The force’s crime recording isn’t of an acceptable standard to make sure victims get the right level of service.”

Parr said the Met was capable of innovation and excellence, such as its policing of the Queen’s funeral, but too much of its core work was going wrong.

New computer systems the Met was relying on for improvements are delayed, it lacks knowledge of its workforce’s skills, and was led and organised so badly it risked being crushed by demands, said the report. It warned without big reforms “within three years up to 50% of demand may not be met”.

The report described a badly organised workforce, over worked, lacking experience and suffering after a controversial reorganisation.

The inspectorate said those supposed to supervise – such as sergeants and inspectors – were having to show officers how to do the basics of their jobs: “We found that supervisors aren’t managing poor performance or giving opportunities for development. Supervisors are often having to spend time tutoring their staff in the basic tasks of their role at the expense of providing leadership and direction.”

It graded the Met as inadequate in the way it responds to the public, while finding it required improvement in investigating crime, protecting vulnerable people, managing offenders, developing a positive workplace and making a good use of resources. It was judged as adequate in two areas of its police work but only found to be good in one other.

Despite lots of hard work and long hours worked, the force was failing victims, the public and its own workforce, the report said.

The Met said it was “committed” to tackling the problems highlighted in the report, with new deputy commissioner Dame Lynne Owens saying their pledge to London was “more trust, less crime, high standards”.

The watchdog graded Britain’s biggest police force as inadequate in the way it responds to the public, while finding it required improvement in investigating crime, protecting vulnerable people, managing offenders, developing a positive workplace and making a good use of resources.

The force was judged as adequate in two areas of its police work but only found to be good in one other.

The findings come three months after the Met was put into special measures by the watchdog amid “persistent concerns” about its performance, including incidents which “raised issues around confidence and trust”.

Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said his concerns about the force had been growing for a “considerable time” and the watchdog’s latest report “raises serious concerns about how the force responds to the public and the level of understanding the force has about its demand and its workforce”.

Mr Parr added: “The Met must get better at how it responds to the public – currently, its call handling teams are unable to answer calls quickly enough.

“In addition, it isn’t correctly documenting the decisions of victims to withdraw from an investigation or to accept an out-of-court disposal.

“Recording victims’ wishes is vital to support the criminal justice process and to understand what is stopping victims from being able to complete the investigation process. The Met must improve in this area.”

The force currently answers 63.9 per cent of 999 calls within 10 seconds, against a national target of 90pc.

It also sees 36.6percent of calls to the non-emergency number 101 abandoned, compared with a goal of less than 10percent.

The force must also better support its officers and staff, Mr Parr said, adding: “Investigations are not always reviewed or overseen properly. There’s an unfair allocation of work, which puts undue pressure on some staff. The force needs to properly understand demand to ensure it is allocating its staff and resources effectively.”

The HMICFRS report said: “We found that the high proportion of inexperienced staff and a lack of experienced tutors for detectives meant that supervisors were often teaching staff how to investigate crime rather than supervising them.”

But Mr Parr stressed the Met “operates under scrutiny other forces do not face”, praising how it led one of the biggest police operations in the UK’s history in the wake of the Queen’s death while also contending with an incident in which two of its officers were stabbed.

The findings also describe “many successes and some examples of innovation”, he said, adding the Met is “good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and has developed innovative techniques to improve how it collects evidence and identifies offenders, such as its new forensic technique for detecting the presence of blood on dark clothing and its new rapid testing kit for drink spiking”.

The force will continue to face enhanced monitoring by HMICFRS as part of the engage process, known as being put into special measures, Mr Parr said.

The Met said its new commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, had made it “very clear” the force needs to improve and has a plan to do so, while Dame Lynne said she and Sir Mark were both “determined to renew policing by consent, working with communities to deliver the kind of police service Londoners need and deserve”.

She added: “We will be using data and insight to improve the Met’s performance on crime fighting and prevention.

“We want to remove as many hurdles as possible to make it easier for hardworking officers to fight crime, deliver justice and support victims.”

In response to the watchdog report, a Home Office spokesperson said: “The findings in this report are deeply concerning. The people of London expect better, and the Met must work to implement the necessary improvements as a matter of urgency.”

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