Braverman urged to abolish Metropolitan Police in wake of damning Casey review
The Home Secretary has rejected calls to abolish the Metropolitan Police after a damning review concluded it is institutionally racist, misogynist and homophobic.
Conservative MP Matthew Offord urged Suella Braverman (pictured) to transfer specialist operations currently with the Met, such as counter-terrorism, to the Home Office.
This would allow the replacement police service for London to focus on maintaining law and order, the MP for Hendon added.
But Ms Braverman disagreed with the suggestion that came in response to the publication of a major review by Baroness Louise Casey.
This had been commissioned in the wake of the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by then-serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens.
Mr Offord told the House of Commons: “The immediate political acceptance of Baroness Casey’s report demonstrates that nothing has changed since the publication of the Macpherson Report 24 years ago and many think the report in itself is a panacea to change.”
The 1999 Macpherson Report on the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in south-east London in 1993 and its aftermath found the force to be institutionally racist.
Mr Offord added: “Does the Home Secretary not agree with me, it’d be more effective to abolish the Metropolitan Police Service, transfer the specialist operations to the remit of the Home Office and establish a police service for London to focus solely on the maintenance of law and order?”
Ms Braverman replied: “I don’t agree that we must abolish the Metropolitan Police Service.
“I think we need to institute a wide-ranging and profound programme of reform, and that’s why I think Sir Mark (Rowley) is absolutely right in his turnaround plan, which deals with specifically the systemic problems, the problems now which are unfortunately not new but of which we are all aware need root-and-branch reform.”
Labour former minister Dame Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, also asked: “Can she tell the House if she has had any discussions or is even considering a break up of the Metropolitan Police, to take counter-terrorism, and leave a London police force for Londoners?”
Ms Braverman replied: “Even Baroness Casey does not recommend breaking down the Metropolitan Police, so I don’t support that proposal.”
Conservative former home secretary Priti Patel said a “performance plan” is needed for the Metropolitan Police, with individuals held to account.
She said: “The sad reality is that, over the last 18 months, we’ve seen report after report… the reality is now it is absolutely incumbent that to secure the whole notion of policing by consent, and to elevate public trust and confidence in policing, we will need to see action going forward.”
Ms Braverman said she backs Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley and his team, saying he is “the right person to lead the organisation to reform and improvement”.
Conservative former minister Tim Loughton suggested bringing in leading people from the Army or businesses to help reform the Met.
Mr Loughton, a member of the Home Affairs Committee, said: “Whether we think the Met is institutionally racist, misogynist or homophobic, (it) is certainly institutionally incapable of bringing in strong and consistent leadership – although I exclude the current new commissioner from that – or institutionally incapable of recruiting enough people of sufficient calibre to make for good officers.
“So does the Home Secretary share my concerns that still the police’s solutions are too much about bringing in more police to mark the homework of other police?
“And has she given thought to bringing in leading people from other disciplines, be it the Army or businesses, to provide proper independent executive scrutiny and promote new ways of working?”
The Home Secretary replied: “Ultimately, independent scrutiny is provided for by the Mayor of London’s office, those are independent, publicly accountable individuals who bring that outside scrutiny.
“Baroness Casey’s report is clear that that has not been good enough to date and that’s why we all need to get behind the Met to ensure that standards improve.”
Conservative former cabinet minister Kit Malthouse said it is a “very dark, if not catastrophic, day”, adding that the key to “turning the force around” is City Hall and the Home Office working together following a “failure of local accountability”.
Labour MP Marsha de Cordova (Battersea) said: “Without wholesale reform it will be impossible to rebuild trust and confidence in our communities in London.
“My constituents in Battersea deserve a force that they can trust. So will the Home Secretary end the postcode lottery in place of standards by implementing national standards on vetting, on misconduct, and training?”
Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson, also a member of the Home Affairs Committee, suggested the Met needs “more independent people” to help investigate its shortcomings.
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