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London police hired criminals, lost ID cards: report

The police inspectorate, an independent supervisory body, stressed that there was no evidence of institutional corruption within the London force, but said it was concerned by the poor practices.

By: Deutsche Welle |
March 23, 2022 10:08:50 am
London's police service said in response that was deeply concerned at the findings and that it was reviewing its processes. (Representative image)

An independent report into London’s Metropolitan Police published Tuesday revealed internal corruption risks and links to criminals within the force.

The police inspectorate, an independent supervisory body, painted a devastating and chaotic picture of London’s police force in its investigation.

It found that Britain’s largest police force had hired staff with criminal connections, including more than 100 former offenders of crimes including handling stolen goods, drink-driving, drug possession, assault, and theft. Several were hired in the past two years.

It found that the so-called Met had lost track of more than 2,000 ID cards since their holders had left the force. This failing is particularly egregious given the details of the March 2021 rape and murder of Sarah Everard, who was abducted after a London police officer used his badge to gain her trust.

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Officers unvetted

The report found that the Met was unaware of whether thousands of officers were even fit for their role, and whether those in sensitive posts — such as child protection, major crime investigation and informant handling — had been been vetted to a high-enough level of security.

It also detailed cases of missing evidence — including drugs, jewelry and money — improperly stowed weapons, and “dire” procedures for handling property.

No institutional corruption

The investigative body stressed that there was no evidence of institutional corruption within the force, but said it was concerned by the poor practices.

“The Met’s apparent tolerance of these shortcomings suggests a degree of indifference to the risk of corruption,” the inspectorate’s head Matt Parr said.

The investigation was commissioned last year after an inquiry found that police had interfered in the investigations into the 1987 killing of private investigator Daniel Morgan. No one has been convicted for his murder, despite several investigations.

The latest report said that even decades after this affair, current practices remained poor.

Met acknowledges shortfalls

London’s police service said in response that was deeply concerned at the findings and that it was reviewing its processes. In a statement, it apologized to family of Daniel Morgan and and conceded that it need to improve.

Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House said: “I take counter-corruption work very seriously. It is well resourced and we have been praised for our work in this area. This will continue.”

“But prompted by the Police Inspectorate, we will look at the structures and processes to make sure they are as effective as possible.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel called on the mayor of London and the new police commissioner to “reverse these deficiencies.”

Met chief Cressida Dick stepped down last month when London’s mayor lost confidence in her ability to clean up the force.

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