Alice Vinten, who served on the force for 10 years, believes the police service can only change if bosses admit it attracts more “wrongdoers” than other professions.

A damning report is expected this week accusing the Metropolitan Police of racism, sexism and homophobia, and of not having changed despite repeated warnings to do so.

baroness casey
Baroness Casey’s review is expected to show the Met is in the ‘last chance lounge’, according to The Guardian newspaper (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Baroness Casey is due to publish her review of culture and standards in the force, commissioned in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer.

Ms Vinten said that while the focus has been on the Met, she believes the same problems exist throughout the police service.

“I hope that the toxic culture of sexism within the Met is exposed for the reality that it is, the fact that ‘boy culture’ still exists,” she told the PA news agency.

“That women often don’t feel supported by their male colleagues, especially when they have to make a complaint about a male colleague, men often don’t support them.

“The reality is that there is still a stigma associated with reporting ‘one of your own’ and this must be changed: officers should be commended for reporting dangerous or corrupt officers, not ostracized for it.

“I don’t think these issues are specific to the Met at all, I think these things are happening across the UK forces.

“Attention has been largely focused on the Met since the murder of Sarah Everard, yet if we gave every UK police service the same level of scrutiny, we would find exactly the same problems: sexist jokes, unacceptable WhatsApp discussions. , harassment of women and men. using their power to gain access to vulnerable women.”

sarah everard
Sarah Everard was killed by an on-duty police officer while walking home from a friend’s house in March 2021 (Family Handout/PA)

The police officer-turned-author wants to see measures that include a unit of female detectives to investigate allegations of sexual offenses made by female officers and staff, and a system in which female candidates are screened separately by two people.

She said the force must also accept that surveillance attracts power-hungry thugs.

“They have to admit that power attracts thugs and perpetrators, and that the police service as a whole attracts more ‘bad guys’ than other occupations,” said Ms Vinten.

“They need to admit that they are a profession that is in the crosshairs of bad people, who want to abuse their power.

“Until they do this and dedicate enthusiastic civilian officers/staff to root out bad cops, nothing will change.”

Attorney Harriet Wistrich
Lawyer Harriet Wistrich says there is a culture at the Met where whistleblowers are punished (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Lawyer Harriet Wistrich, director of the Center for Women’s Justice, says officers who turn a blind eye to wrongdoing must be punished, as well as the perpetrators themselves.

She told PA: “It is clear from everything we have seen in recent years that the Met has allowed a culture of misogyny, racism and homophobia to fester within the organization without opposition.

“Failure to address these issues and sweep them under the rug has led to the most horrifying results in cases like (Wayne) Couzens and (David) Carrick fundamentally undermining trust in the police.

“I think one of the key issues is the culture of loyalty that punishes whistleblowers and rewards those who collude; this must be fundamentally reformed.

“Those who collude or fail to speak out and challenge overt misogyny and racism must be held to account, just like the perpetrators.”

Amid reports in The Guardian that Baroness Casey’s review will be “appalling” for the Met, the force has said it will not comment until it is published in full.

The Met has reeled between a series of scandals in recent years, including the case of Wayne Couzens, the serving officer who will die in jail for the murder of Miss Everard, and David Carrick, who was unmasked as one of the UK’s most prolific sex offenders.

david carrick
Former Met officer David Carrick was jailed for life for sexual offenses against 12 women (Hertfordshire Police/PA)

Andrea Simon, director of the Coalition to End Violence Against Women, said she hopes the review will look at how police powers and culture enable officers and staff to commit crimes related to violence against women and girls. .

“Given the long history of misogyny and racism at the Met, from revelations about undercover policing dating back to the 1980s to the findings of the Macpherson report and numerous police inspection reports, we look forward to seeing this review finally take home that the culture and the functioning of the institution have to change, and urgently”, he said.

“The report’s findings will likely point to issues we’ve known about for a long time, so we look forward to hearing in concrete terms how you can drive action that results in meaningful transformation.”

Rape Crisis England and Wales chief executive Jayne Butler hopes the review will focus on “transparency, accountability and culture change”.

She said: “Clearly, there is a need for a radical cultural transformation to rebuild public trust in the police.

“We want a zero-tolerance approach for officers charged with sexual or domestic abuse crimes, and proper investigative processes to root out those who hold sexist, racist, and misogynistic views.

“It is crucial that the Met is able to clearly delineate a definition of serious misconduct and that this is consistently applied.

“It is also crucial to detail how professional standards are strengthened and how they will be applied and developed where necessary.”


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