The Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley was responding to figures that show that more than 150 officers are currently under investigation over allegations of sexual assault and racism.
The head of the Metropolitan police has said it is “crazy” that he cannot sack “toxic” officers who have committed crimes while working for the force.
Sir Mark Rowley, who was appointed as commissioner following Dame Cressida Dick’s departure, was responding to recent figures reported by The Guardian that show more than 150 Met officers are being prevented from holding public-facing roles because they are under investigation over allegations of sexual assault and racism.
“We have some very worrying cases with officers who’ve committed criminality whilst police officers and yet I’m not allowed to sack them,” he said during an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
“It’s sort of, it’s crazy. The investigation needs to take place – not all of those cases will have a case to answer, but many of them will.”
He continued: “We’ve got some officers who we sacked, but other legal bodies, who have a power to reinstate them, did. So, I’ve got officers who we determined shouldn’t be police officers and yet I have to keep them. It sounds bizarre – I’m the commissioner, yet I can’t decide who my own workforce is.”
This is of course particularly troubling in light of the case of Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving Met officer, Wayne Couzens. Couzens, who used his warrant card and handcuffs to lure Everard into his car, was reportedly nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ by his colleagues.
Rowley’s recent comments come after he announced sweeping plans for reform in the Met earlier this week.
Speaking during an appearance at the Institute of Engineering and Technology in Westminster on Tuesday evening, Rowley revealed that he had been working on a plan for reform over the last four months and said a draft version would be published in “the next few days”.
The plan will then be open to feedback from communities, partners and stakeholders before a second version is published in April.
Stating that “a different way of policing in London is possible”, Rowley said of the changes: “Today is about solutions and plans. We must change for our communities, and for our officers and staff who serve them.”
Rowley continued: “We are taking our first steps on a journey of reform in the Met. I expect to be held accountable for how that transformation of London’s police service evolves in the weeks, months and years ahead.
“We have a practical plan for turning things around. We have tens of thousands of hard-working men and women who I know will ensure the Met delivers more trust, less crime and high standards.”
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