'Can you help us?': Mock police signs call for overhaul of Met after leaked messages

4 February 2022, 13:13 | Updated: 4 February 2022, 13:21

Signs calling for an overhaul of the Met Police have been put up in Charing Cross
Signs calling for an overhaul of the Met Police have been put up in Charing Cross. Picture: Women's Equality Party

By Daisy Stephens

Mock police appeal signs have been erected in Charing Cross calling for an independent inquiry into misogyny in the Met.

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The Women's Equality Party (WEP) - a political party campaigning for women's rights and gender equality - put up the signs around the central London area, where the police officers who sent misogynistic, homophobic and racist messages were based.

Sharing images of the signs on Twitter, the WEP wrote: "SPOTTED: Charing Cross Met officers described domestic abuse & sexual assault as 'banter'.

"So, WE covered Charing Cross with our demands for an independent inquiry into misogyny & a radical overhaul of the Met Police. #EnoughIsEnough."

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The signs read: "We are appealing. Can you help us?"

The signs then feature an extract of the messages, where one officer encourages others to physically assault their partners because "it makes them love you more".

Beneath the text, the sign reads: "Are you disgusted?

"Please phone the Home Secretary to demand a statutory inquiry into misogyny and radical overhaul of the police:

"020 7219 3528

"The Police cannot stop violence and discrimination if they do not recognise it in their own ranks."

Also sharing the images, WEP leader Mandu Reid wrote: "It's not just a few bad apples, it's the whole orchard… there is a CULTURE of misogyny and sexism in the Met Police.

"How much more will it take for police leaders and politicians to stop burying their heads in the sand?

"Do more women have to die or be harmed?"

The messages, revealed in a report by the police watchdog, found a number of rape threats, racist abuse, and vile jokes about the holocaust had been shared in private messages between officers based at Charing Cross police station.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) made a series of recommendations to the force, which has been falling under increasing pressure since the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer.

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The IOPC probe began in March 2018, after an officer was accused of having sex with a drunk person at a police station.

The messages, where officers joked about rape and made a number of racist comments including references to Auschwitz, caused outrage amongst politicians and the public.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was "utterly disgusted", whilst Home Secretary Priti Patel said the "sickening" officers had abused the privilege of being in the police.

In total, 14 police officers were investigated, with two being dismissed for gross misconduct.

A Met statement said: "The conduct of a team of officers at Charing Cross police station in central London does not represent the values of the Metropolitan Police Service.

"We are deeply sorry to Londoners and everyone they have failed with their appalling conduct and acknowledge how this will damage the trust and confidence of many in the Met.

"Since this reprehensible behaviour was uncovered in 2017 we have taken a series of measures to hold those responsible to account and stamp out unacceptable behaviour."

But whilst the IPOC said it "welcomed" the steps taken, "more is required".

"Our recommendations focus on the identified cultural issues and aim to ensure that those who work for the force feel safe with their colleagues and that communities feel safe with those whose job is to protect them," said IOPC regional director Sal Naseem.

"The MPS has to enjoy the trust and confidence of its own officers from diverse communities before it can hope to bridge the gap in trust and confidence with the communities it serves."

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