Met boss backs banning almost anyone who has caution or conviction from serving in police

6 April 2023, 01:09 | Updated: 6 April 2023, 14:20

Sir Mark said he would support banning nearly anyone who was received a conviction or caution
Sir Mark said he would support banning nearly anyone who was received a conviction or caution. Picture: Alamy
Fraser Knight.

By Fraser Knight.

The Met Commissioner will support a complete ban on almost anyone who has received a caution or conviction from serving in the police.

Sir Mark Rowley told LBC too much flexibility has been allowed in the vetting of officers and staff in the past and is now looking at setting a higher standard in London before a national review is completed.

The Home Secretary commissioned one after the conviction of serving PC David Carrick for a catalogue of sexual offences, including 24 counts of rape, with several missed opportunities identified to re-vet him.

Sir Mark said: "The guidance from the College of Policing around vetting gives quite a bit of flexibility. The opportunity for redemption does have to be there, but we've been too flexible.

Read more: Police force did nothing for 18 months after being shown video of girl, 9, being raped, report finds

"Anything involving domestic abuse or sexual offending, I think that should be an absolute bar. There might be other offences where we need to show a bit more flexibility.

"So if someone 15 years ago as a young person stole a Mars Bar from a corner shop, that probably shouldn't be an absolute bar, but most criminal convictions and cautions I think should be a barrier to joining the police.

Speaking to LBC Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I can’t think of a situation where an adult caution should allow somebody to join the police service”.

"I think that just sounds sensible to the public."

Sadiq Khan says he would support a ban on anyone with an adult caution or conviction joining police

In a letter to the Home Secretary and Mayor of London, Sir Mark Rowley has also outlined an update on the progress being made to clear the Met Police of hundreds of officers the Commissioner has said are "unfit to wear the uniform".

Almost 200 officers have now been placed under enhanced risk management measures after having previous complaints of sexual or domestic violence re-examined.

They now face having their vetting reviewed.

Sir Mark is cracking down on corrupt cops
Sir Mark is cracking down on corrupt cops. Picture: Alamy

More than 600 other officers will also have previous complaints against them looked at in more detail to see if there were any missed lines of enquiry.

In his letter, Sir Mark said: "This all makes for uncomfortable reading.

"But we have made significant progress in just 6 months. I recognise the scale of the damage to public trust that has taken place and the significant work we still have to do in order to restore it."

Nick Ferrari puts Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on the spot about the future of the Met Police

Among the figures released by the Metropolitan Police, it was revealed 161 serving officers have previous criminal convictions.

Almost half of those are for serious traffic offences, including drink driving and driving without care.

But some are also serving having committed sexual offences or crimes involving weapons.

Speaking to reporters, the country's most senior police officer and his Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy also hit out at a lack of guidance or frameworks in place to allow forces to sack officers or staff who have their vetting withdrawn - something Sir Mark Rowley says he expects to see happening to more of his officers.

Read more: 'I've shed a tear over misconduct report': Met chief Sir Mark Rowley says hundreds of officers should be sacked

After taking legal advice, the Met leadership is now trialling a new way of carrying out accelerated misconduct hearings to dismiss staff who are unable to fully carry out their duties without the right security clearance in place.

Thirty officers or staff members are currently going through the process, which Sir Mark admitted they expect to be challenged.

But he defended the move, saying: "I think anybody running an organisation needs to have the levers to do what the public expects of them.

"I don't think it's unreasonable for those delivering policing to have the final say in who can be in the organisation.

"We said we were serious and this shows that we are serious."