LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of London police officers face being fired as the department steps up efforts “to root out the corrupt” after a series of scandals eroded public trust and a scathing report revealed that he was institutionally racist, homophobic and misogynistic.
The Metropolitan Police Department said Tuesday that more than 1,000 officers are currently suspended or placed on restricted duties. That means the public will likely be bombarded with stories of police misconduct over the next few years as the department clears the backlog of cases and about 60 officers face disciplinary proceedings each month.
“It’s going to take one, two or more years to weed out the corrupt ones,” Deputy Commissioner Stuart Cundy said as he briefed reporters on efforts to reform the department.
London Police, known to many as Scotland Yard, is under immense pressure to fire officers accused of misconduct and change its male-dominated culture after a serving officer kidnapped and murdered a young woman he two years ago and another was convicted of a series of sexual assaults. attacks. An independent review found the department failed to properly vet and train officers, and allowed many of them to remain on the job even after being accused of domestic violence or racial harassment.
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The scandals have shaken public confidence in Britain’s largest police force, which has more than 34,000 officers serving around 9 million people in the capital. Restoring that trust is crucial in a country where most police officers do not carry weapons and police rely on public support to do their jobs, a model known as “policing by consent.” .
The “staggering” figures released on Tuesday are part of a painful but necessary process as the department tackles corruption within its ranks, said Zoe Billingham, who headed the Inspectorate of Police in England for 12 years and in Wales.
“The whole British policing model is based on the concept of legitimacy, and if the police are not seen as legitimate in the public eye, if they cannot police by consent, then the whole fabric of the order public is starting to collapse,” she told the BBC.
The figures were released a year after Commissioner Mark Rowley took charge of the Metropolitan Police, pledging to reform the department.
In March, Rowley apologized after an independent review concluded the department had lost public trust due to deep-rooted racism, misogyny and homophobia. Louise Casey, an expert in victims’ rights and social protection who led the study, concluded the force must “change itself” or risk being dismantled.
The department said Tuesday it was making progress implementing Rowley’s pledge to change the department’s culture and accelerate the firing of corrupt officers.
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About 100 police officers have been fired for serious misconduct in the past 12 months, a 66% increase over historical firing rates, the department announced Tuesday.
The number of officers awaiting serious misconduct hearings has more than doubled to 275, with 38 involving allegations of violence against women and 42 linked to discrimination.
Overall, the number of allegations of misconduct reported during the period jumped 90%, to 1,668. A third of these incidents were reported by police officers or staff.
The department also said it has improved leadership training for police sergeants, launched a program to increase the number of female officers trained to carry firearms and increased efforts to increase the number of women and minority officers in the prestigious parliamentary and diplomatic command, which protects politicians, royals and diplomats.
Wayne Couzens, the officer convicted of kidnapping and murder, and David Carrick, the officer convicted of a series of rapes and sexual assaults, were both members of the Parliamentary Protection Unit.
“We hope the progress presented today will reassure Londoners that we are doing everything we can to create an organization they deserve and that our employees are proud of,” Cundy said.
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