...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
MPs accuse the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Mark Rowley, of being responsible for turning the force into a “national disgrace” by turning a blind eye to past failings during an angry exchange at the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.
Conservative MP James Daly said that the Met had been a “complete and utter mess” for a long time, and that Sir Mark, as a former senior officer in the force, was one of those responsible.
Sir Mark replied that he had always stood for high standards, was doubling down on standards more ferociously than had been done for decades and that the vast majority of the Met’s personnel were good people.
Sir Mark’s assertion was challenged by Conservative MP Lee Anderson, who accused him of being “in denial” about the failings of the past, with the Met recently being condemned as institutionally racist, misogynistic, and homophobic.
Sir Mark replied that he was “not tolerating” the continued employment of officers with criminal convictions and those accused of domestic and sexual abuse but needed stronger powers to enable him to remove them.
The Commissioner is hoping that the Home Secretary will introduce such powers soon.
The discussion took place during a hearing on policing priorities, during which the Commissioner was accused of contributing to the situation in the Met.
A recent report by Baroness Casey had revealed widespread failings in the force.
Out of 43 police forces, the Met was the only one to miss its individual target of hiring new officers, falling short by about 1,000.
The force had been tasked with hiring 4,557 new officers but had only provisionally recruited 3,468 in the period, according to provisional Home Office figures.
Despite the recruitment shortfall, Sir Mark said he was “doubling down on standards more ferociously than has been done for five decades,” adding that he was “not going to accept” a debate which turned into a pillory of the police root and branch.
He also said that it was “completely unacceptable” that the Met was still employing officers with criminal convictions.