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[Baroness Casey of Blackstock]
[Baroness Casey of Blackstock]

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Baroness Casey of Blackstock to lead review of Met standards and culture

On Monday we announced that an independent and far-reaching review will be led by an external figure. Today we can announce that it will be Baroness Casey of Blackstock.

The review will examine our culture and standards of behaviour, and will assess to what extent our current leadership, recruitment, vetting, training, communications and other processes, effectively reinforce the standards the public should expect. The review and its recommendations will be published.

An urgent examination is also now under way into all current investigations of sexual and domestic abuse allegations against Metropolitan Police Service officers and staff.

Officers from our Directorate of Professional Standards will review each of these cases, including the individual’s vetting and conduct history, making certain victims are being properly supported, and investigations are absolutely thorough.

The detailed examination will include a thorough check of the vetting history of any individual against whom allegations have been made.

The examination will also dip sample cases from the last ten years of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse allegations where those accused remain in the Met. This will check appropriate management measures (including vetting reviews) have been taken.

This significant piece of work is part of a range of measures that aim to help restore the trust of Londoners in the aftermath of the horrific murder of Sarah Everard by a Metropolitan Police Officer and other cases that have undermined trust.

Commissioner Cressida Dick, who is leading the wide-ranging work to restore trust, said: “The appointment of Baroness Casey to lead the independent review in to our culture and standards is an important step in our journey to rebuild public trust.

“Louise is extremely experienced and highly respected and I know will ask the difficult questions needed for this thorough review. This will build a stronger Met, ensure lasting improvement our service to London and public confidence in us.

“I hope her appointment and the significant urgent actions we are taking will go some way to provide immediate and vital reassurance to Londoners.

“We recognise the grave levels of public concern following the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard and other deeply troubling incidents and allegations. I have said that we know a precious bond has been broken.

“The Met has huge numbers of wonderfully professional officers and staff but I also recognise the behaviour of too many is of serious concern.

“Today I am setting out the immediate steps we are taking.

“Compassionate, courageous, professional and always acting with integrity. This is the Met I want everyone to know. I ask you to judge us on how we turn our words into action.”

Baroness Casey said: “I am grateful to have the opportunity to undertake this important independent review for the Met and the public they serve.

“Trust is given to the police by our, the public’s, consent. So any acts that undermine that trust must be examined and fundamentally changed.

“This will no doubt be a difficult task but we owe it to the victims and families this has affected and the countless decent police officers this has brought into disrepute.”

Other measures include:

:: We will boost the number of investigators to do more to prevent and identify the abuse of trust by our people. We will also create a new dedicated team to focus on the investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse.

:: As part of our mission to focus on what matters most to Londoners and keep the city safe for everyone we will renew our work to drive better operational outcomes, including continuing to prioritise key crimes including rape and serious sexual offences.

:: We will publish an action plan within weeks on the detailed steps we are taking to improve how we tackle the issues women and girls tell us make them feel unsafe, and ensure we have a positive, supportive and healthy culture that sets an example for all to follow.

:: Furthermore, a root and branch review of the Parliament and Diplomatic Protection Command will be undertaken. This will have a particular focus on recruitment, vetting, culture, professional standards and supervision.

:: We are also investing in an extra 650 dedicated officers for neighbourhood policing ‘town centre’ teams. They will work solely in busy public places and other areas, often including those where women and girls often feel unsafe.

:: Further details of some of our immediate work on standards and culture to boost trust among Londoners can be found in the Commissioner's letter to the Mayor [attached below].

Background

Baroness Casey Of Blackstock is an independent advisor for social welfare, Chair of the Institute for Global Homelessness and Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords.

A former British government official (also known as a ‘Czar’), she worked on issues relating to social welfare for five Prime Ministers over the last 23 years. She was made head of the Rough Sleepers’ Unit in 1999, where she successfully led the strategy to reduce the numbers of people living on the streets by two thirds.

She went on to hold several leadership positions including the Director of the national Anti-Social Behaviour Unit, the Respect Task Force and the Troubled Families programme, as well as the UK’s first Victims’ Commissioner. She undertook the Inspection into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in South Yorkshire in 2015. She was then asked by then-Prime Minister David Cameron to undertake a review of community cohesion and extremism, which was published in December 2017.

She left the civil service in 2017 to establish the Institute for Global Homelessness, with the aim of delivering an international solution to homelessness across the world. Baroness Casey returned to public service in 2020 to support the Government’s COVID-19 rough sleeping response.

Baroness Casey was awarded the Companion of the Order of Bath (CB) in the Queen's birthday honours list 2008 and made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the Queen's birthday honours list, 2016. Baroness Casey was recently appointed as a Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, a position she took up In September 2021.

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