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Scandal-hit London Met police under security

Saeed Pourreza
Press TV, London

The force that usually leads investigations is now itself a subject of one. The UK’s largest police force is put into special measures over a string of failures.

This was supposed to be a candlelit vigil in March last year for 33-year-old Sarah Everard, kidnapped, raped, and murdered by Wayne Couzens, a member of the same police force. What was a peaceful vigil ended with the police arresting vigil goers for breaching lockdown rules.

Former Commissioner Cressida Dick, forced to resign earlier this year, blamed police failings on a few bad apples in the force; but to many others the problem with the MET is cultural.

The UK’s largest police force has been hit by a number of scandals in recent years. In April this year, the police watchdog discovered what it called disgraceful misogyny, discrimination and sexual harassment in a police unit based in London’s Charring Cross Police Station.

In June 2020, officers- who were later jailed- posed for pictures next to the bodies of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry stabbed to death in northwest London.

And a further four officers were investigated for gross misconduct after a 15-year-old black school girl, dubbed Child Q, was stripped-searched while menstruating. Her family who are now suing the force welcomed the move.

This is the UK’s most high profile police force. The decision to put it into special measures means it has been handpicked as one of the country’s failing forces. It is a damning decision that means the Met will now be under scrutiny: more regular inspections and perhaps an order to meet specific crime fighting targets.

The new measure comes amid public outrage over a new policing bill the UK government is pushing through parliament that if passed would give sweeping powers to the police- raising questions about how a force that is beset by a reputation and public trust crisis can be handed even more powers.

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