'Ill-informed nonsense': Met chief slaps down suggestion counter-terror police should be made a separate unit

27 September 2022, 08:24

Met Chief: Ill-informed nonsense terror policing should move from Met

By Asher McShane

New Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley has dismissed as "nonsense" any suggestion that the UK's counter-terror policing operation should be moved out of London.

Asked by Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC today, Sir Mark described the idea as "ill-informed nonsense, frankly."

He said: "It may look an unusual arrangement to someone outside who has no understanding of policing whatsoever. Sixty per cent of the terrorists that are being ‘worked on’ live in London.

"The majority of terrorist attacks take place in London. The London-centric nature of terrorism in this country means that separating it out from the Met would create a massive problem to try and co-ordinate a policing terror organisation and the Metropolitan police because they would have to work so closely together you’d say why did we ever separate it out."

"It would be a distraction from what I’ve got to worry about at the moment, which is improving policing for London."

Sir Mark Rowley said most terrorists being 'worked on' by police are based in London
Sir Mark Rowley said most terrorists being 'worked on' by police are based in London. Picture: LBC/Alamy

Sir Mark also promised a 'zero tolerance' approach to rooting out racist and misogynist officers within the force.

It comes after he admitted in an open letter the organisation has been "far too weak" and said he wants to speak with "the challengers, those who care, who will call out injustice but also show things as they are".

Sir Mark, who took over as the boss at Scotland Yard earlier this month, said he is "determined" to get the culture at the Met - which been plagued by a series of scandals and missteps in recent years - right, and that he wants the support of others to inform his plans.

In an open letter, shared on LinkedIn, under the title "Bringing the outside in, to get change right", he said he wants to work with people "who will speak truth to power and help us reform".

He wrote: "I need to and want to hear from those we have let down, from our communities in London and within the Met. Constructive anger, channelled in the right ways, can bring positive change.

"I have taken over as the leader of an organisation that has been far too weak in taking on those who undermine the honest and dedicated majority who determinedly serve the public.

"And I have set out how I will be ruthless at rooting out from this organisation the corrupting officers including racists and misogynists."

He said he had spoken with many people and groups, "including associations representing Black, Muslim, Polish and LGBT+ colleagues".

He added: "One group, the Met Black Police Association, I have spoken to three times. I have also spoken to colleagues who represent women who have too often been let down.

"These conversations can be challenging. I heard one network for Black officers is disregarded publicly by another and that some of our staff associations are dominated by men."

The post was shared on the Met official Twitter account, which quote-tweeted a Guardian article reporting that the commissioner had refused to meet the president of the the National Black Police Association amid a suggestion officers would be banned from "taking the knee".

In the open letter, Sir Mark said he has "real concerns" and needs to be sure he is talking to "the right people".

He added: "Also, I find myself considering the role of the media, holding us to account when we get it wrong and also recognising the nuance, the complexity of things and not simply jumping for a headline.

"I believe in systemic change that demonstrates the Met can be better, not glossy articles suggesting it is repaired.

"I will continue to search for a meaningful partnership with those who will speak truth to power and help us reform."

The post comes just days after a watchdog raised "serious concerns" about the performance of the Met after it found the force was "failing" in several areas of its work.

His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said Scotland Yard must make urgent improvements as it published its findings last week.

The watchdog graded the 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 findings came 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".

Sir Mark's stint as Commissioner began during what is arguably one of the most turbulent times for the Met.

He took on the role after Dame Cressida Dick dramatically quit earlier this year and while the force has been plagued by a series controversies.

In a sternly-worded letter before his tenure began, then-home secretary Priti Patel demanded Sir Mark address the "appalling mistakes of the past", listing the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer, strip searches of children, and the abject failures investigating the deaths of the victims of serial killer Stephen Port among the key issues that had damaged public confidence.

There has also been outrage over racist, sexist and homophobic messages shared by a group of officers based at Charing Cross police station between 2016 and 2018, questions raised over the force's approach to tackling corruption and its use of stop and search as well as ongoing investigations into deaths following police contact, including that of Chris Kaba, who was fatally shot by an officer.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Rugby Union player Connor Garden-Bachop has died at the age of 25 after a 'medical event', New Zealand Rugby has confirmed.

New Zealand rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop, 25, dies after 'medical event'

Mr Sunak was joined by Foreign Secretary David Cameron for the first time on the campaign

Flock of sheep flee as Rishi Sunak and David Cameron try to feed them

Olympic athletes ‘could die of overheating’ due to 'dangerous temperatures' at Paris 2024 Games

Olympic athletes ‘could die of overheating’ due to 'dangerous temperatures' at Paris 2024 Games

Comedian Victoria Vera Blyth was killed by her husband David Thomas Blyth

British businessman shoots his TV star wife dead in murder-suicide after 'row over her text messages' at Turkey home

Tattooed woman in black hunted by police after schoolboy, 12, was brutally attacked during attempted robbery

Tattooed woman in black hunted by police after schoolboy, 12, is attacked walking home from school

A decision not to charge police officers involved in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation has been upheld by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Stephen Lawrence murder detectives will not face prosecution, CPS announces

Justin Timberlake has been arrested for “driving while intoxicated”

Justin Timberlake arrested for 'driving while intoxicated' in wealthy Hamptons enclave

Three children went missing after a day at Thorpe Park

Three children missing after day out at Thorpe Park found safe and well by police

Exclusive
Keir Starmer responds to callers about Palestine.

Starmer says he would take 'full part' in resolving Israel Gaza conflict, pledging to recognise Palestine as part of two-state solution

Former footballer Joey Barton has apologised to Jeremy Vine for defaming him on social media and agreed to pay £75,000 in damages.

Ex-footballer Joey Barton apologises to Jeremy Vine and pays £75,000 in damages over defamatory posts

SAS doctors have accepted a pay offer from the government

SAS doctors accept new pay offer from government after months of negotiations

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friends from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friend from 'the middle of nowhere' after night out

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast

'We would seek a better agreement' Keir Starmer tells LBC where he thinks "botched" Brexit deal can be improved

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast show

Keir Starmer defends plan to repeal law protecting veterans from prosecution due to ‘lack of support’ in NI

Exclusive
Sir Keir Starmer took questions from LBC listeners this morning with a few weeks until the nation goes to the polls

Starmer refuses to rule out council tax hike, bins plans for football levy and admits he would have served under Corbyn

Exclusive
Sir Keir emphasised the importance of single-sex spaces

Trans people will be accommodated in 'side rooms' of single-sex wards, Sir Keir Starmer tells LBC