Met hired 100 recruits with criminal records over last two years, damning report finds

22 March 2022, 12:06 | Updated: 22 March 2022, 14:02

The damning report blasted the Met’s anti-corruption practices and said lessons had not been learned decades after the murder of Daniel Morgan
The damning report blasted the Met’s anti-corruption practices and said lessons had not been learned decades after the murder of Daniel Morgan. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

A damning report has revealed the Met police took on 100 new recruits with criminal convictions in the past two years and has major failings in the way it handles corruption.

The report, by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), said the Met had not learned lessons from the notorious unsolved 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan.

The report made a series of heavy criticisms of the force, highlighting:

- In the past two years, the Met has recruited people with criminal connections and more than 100 people who have committed offences

- 'Dire' property and exhibits procedures with hundreds of items including cash and drugs not accounted for and in one case a security access code for a property store was written on the outside of the door

- Uncertainty over whether people in 4,200 sensitive posts such as child protection, major crime and informant handling have been vetted to the right security level

- At least 2,000 warrant cards issued to officers who had since left the force had been lost

- No capability for the Met to proactively monitor its IT systems.

However the report found based on its inspection it would not describe the Met as institutionally corrupt.

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It also found no evidence of any deliberate or coordinated attempts by the Met to frustrate the work of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel.

The report also says the Met has an “impressive” ability to investigate the most serious corruption allegations, and that other forces call on its expertise in handling cases.

It also praised the force’s support for whistleblowers and said the Met had greatly reduced the number of personnel who were not security vetted.

Matt Parr from HMICFRS said that the Met had "sometimes behaved in ways that make it appear arrogant, secretive and lethargic".

He said that the watchdog's 20 recommendations for change must be "among the Commissioner's highest priorities" in order to restore public trust in the force.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Standards must be immediately improved.

"I expect the Mayor of London and the new Commissioner to reverse these deficiencies as a matter of urgency.

"The public put their trust in the police and expect them to carry out their duties to the highest professional standards."

The Met police said in a statement: “We are deeply concerned at the criticisms in the report on our approach to countering corruption and are urgently reviewing our systems and processes.

“We have already carried out a thorough search for insecure property and files across the Met and this will be followed with quarterly inspections.

"We have also ordered all supervisors to speak to their officers and staff about accepting gifts and hospitality, as well as to find out whether they have any undeclared business interests or declarable associations.

"We are determined that this report will serve as a further opportunity for us to learn and 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

“I am professionally disappointed that some of the elements that support the service in countering corruption have not been working well enough. This is already being put right.

“There are some areas where our judgment is different from the Police Inspectorate.

“I have read the criticism regarding employing officers with convictions. Each and every case is considered extremely carefully. We believe, in the right circumstances, in giving people a second chance.”

Last week Mr Morgan's family - who are suing the Met - claimed a "culture of corruption" continues to "flourish at the highest ranks" of the Met.

It came as the force continued to reject findings that it was institutionally corrupt, instead insisting it can be the "police service that London deserves" and said "Londoners should be reassured by our work" as it promised to keep trying to solve the killing in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London.

Police pursued thousands of lines of inquiry and conducted six extensive investigations into Mr Morgan's death, while numerous independent assessments and five forensic reviews have already been carried out.

Another forensic review of evidence linked to the case has now been commissioned.

A £50,000 cash reward for information leading to a successful prosecution - one of the largest rewards ever made available by a UK police force - is still being offered.