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Next Met chief must 'get it' after force placed under special measures, Sadiq Khan says

29 June 2022, 00:00 | Updated: 29 June 2022, 00:03

Sadiq Khan welcomed the news that the Met Police was being placed in 'special measures'
Sadiq Khan welcomed the news that the Met Police was being placed in 'special measures'. Picture: LBC/Alamy
Theo Usherwood

By Theo Usherwood

Sadiq Khan has said the next commissioner of the Met Police must "get it" after the force was placed into special measures following a litany of failures.

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Mr Khan said during the State of London Debate, hosted by LBC's James O'Brien, that he welcomed the decision of the police inspectorate "because I've been calling for some time for systemic and cultural changes in our police service in the face of opposition from Priti Patel and Boris Johnson".

He added: "That's one of the reasons why we have an action plan, to win back trust and confidence from Londoners, particularly around making sure that we're more accountable to our communities."

He said he "asked the police inspectorate to look into the shortcomings in the Stephen Port investigation where four gay men were murdered by Stephen Port" and "supported Dame Louise Casey looking into the cultural practices of the police service", adding: "That's why ultimately I lost confidence in the commissioner because of her failure to address these issues."

"We need the next commissioner to get it, and the next commissioner to be a reforming commissioner to win back the trust and confidence of those Londoners and those communities who've lost it," he said.

It was revealed on Tuesday that, in a letter to acting commissioner Stephen House, the boss at HM Inspectorate of Constabulary [HMIC] Matt Parr said there were "several examples of high profile incidents" which raise concerns about the Met's performance and "are likely to have a chilling effect on public trust and confidence in the Met".

Cases cited by Mr Parr included the murder of Sarah Everard, the findings of the independent inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan, the stop and search of Bianca Williams and Child Q, who was stripped searched by officers at her school.

Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving police officer
Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving police officer. Picture: Alamy

The letter states the "cumulative effect" of all the Met's failures outweighs any successes it may have had.

As a result, the Met is to be placed into special measures, and will be subject to external monitoring and reviews by the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs Council.

It will be scrutinised more, required to report to inspectors more regularly and may need to hit certain crime-fighting targets.

Mr Khan said previously: "A series of appalling scandals have not only exposed deep cultural problems but have damaged the confidence of Londoners in the capital’s police service.

"The decision by the HMIC to now move the Met into special measures has laid bare the substantial performance failings by the force.

"As I have been saying for some time, Londoners deserve better. That's why we now need to see nothing less than a new contract forged between the police and the public in London.

"This means root and branch reforms and systemic change to the Met's performance and culture.

The family of killed private investigator Daniel Morgan are preparing to take legal action against the Metropolitan Police
The family of killed private investigator Daniel Morgan are preparing to take legal action against the Metropolitan Police. Picture: PA

"This will be a crucial first step for the next Commissioner to start rebuilding trust and credibility with our communities. I will work with HMIC and will hold the Met to account in delivering the police reforms and step change in policing performance and culture that all our communities deserve."

The force said: "We recognise the cumulative impact of events and problems that the Met is dealing with. We understand the impact this has had on communities and we share their disappointment.

"We are determined to be a police service Londoners can be proud of. We are talking to the Inspectorate about next steps."

The family of Child Q, a teenager who was strip-searched by Met officers as she was menstruating, said: "We welcome the decision of HMICFRS to place the Metropolitan Police into special measures.

"The Metropolitan Police has shown time and again that it cannot do its job properly and its officers' actions have had life-changing, devastating consequences for innocent people across London, including Child Q.

Read more: Khan won't join RMT picket line as he calls on Government to end dispute

"It is no wonder that there is little to no faith left in the Metropolitan Police.

"We hope the additional scrutiny of special measures will result in permanent change in the force's culture and practices. The Met must now respond meaningfully to the failings which have been identified by HMICFRS as well as those identified by the numerous recent reports into its wrongdoing. Londoners deserve so much better."

Ms Patel said: "I expect the police to get the basics right. It is clear the Metropolitan Police Service is falling short of these expectations which is why I support the action that HMICFRS has taken today to highlight their failings - and I expect the Met and the London Mayor to take immediate action to begin addressing them."

Patsy Stevenson, the 28-year-old detained at the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard, responded to the news writing online: "The Met police have been placed in special measures. That's the whole tweet."

The Met is down to the final stages of appointing a new commissioner after the resignation of Cressida Dick earlier this year. It is between Sir Mark Rowley, the former Counter Terrorism Command boss who was in charge during the attacks at Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge in 2017, and Met Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave.

The Queen formally appoints them after a recommendation from the home secretary, Ms Patel. She must take Mr Khan's thoughts on the appointment on board.

Read more: Watchdog to investigate 7 more instances of Met strip searching children as young as 14

A source told LBC: "As the Police and Crime Commissioner responsible for Metropolitan Police, the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is letting Londoners down.

"Conservative leadership has provided record funding and we are well on our way to delivering 20,000 additional police officers nationally, with 2,600 of those already recruited in London.

"While other forces across our country have made real headway in making streets safer, the Labour mayor of London has been asleep at the wheel and now finds himself as the police and crime commissioner in charge of the largest force in special measures."

The force will be subjected to a so-called "engage phase" which means it will face external monitoring and the force must come up with an improvement plan.

The external monitoring and support will come from the College of Policing or the National Police Chiefs' Council, brokered by HMICFRS.

Greater Manchester Police was placed in special measures in 2020. Fourteen months later an inspection report found GMP was continuing to investigate crime poorly and taking too long to answer both 999 and non-emergency calls.

Inspectors from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said earlier this year the force still "doesn't investigate crimes effectively, so some offenders escape justice and victims don't get the service they deserve".