Since the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Metropolitan police officer in March last year, the Met has been embroiled in a series of further scandals.
On 11 March, the high court ruled that the Met had breached the rights of four women organising a vigil in London for Sarah Everard last March. The police told the Reclaim These Streets organisers that they would face fines of £10,000 each and possible prosecution if they went ahead with the vigil.
The vigil went ahead in Battersea Park on 13 March anyway. Male police officers then tried to end a vigil against violence to women and the murder of a woman by a police officer by manhandling women.
The police are appealing the high court decision.
In February, the independent office for police conduct (IOPC) reported that it had found a culture of misogyny, racism and homophobia among Met police officers. A group, based mainly at Charing Cross police station, were found to have shared messages about using violence on and raping women, as well as racist and homophobic messages, between 2016 and 2018.
Following the report, two officers were sacked and another received a written warning. Four others were sentenced to ‘further training’.
In March, it was revealed that three Met police officers had, months earlier, conducted a traumatic strip search – without the presence of responsible adult – of a black 15-year-old (who was menstruating), because a teacher believed she smelled of marijuana. No drugs were found in Child Q’s possession.
Racism ‘was likely to have been an influencing factor’ in the strip search, which should never have happened, according to a safeguarding report by City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership.
On 23 March, the inspectorate of constabulary, fire and rescue services (HMICFRS) said that it had ‘found substantial weaknesses in the Met’s approach to tackling police corruption’.
Its damning report brought to light, for example, that, just in the last two years, the Met had recruited more than 100 officers with criminal records: ‘the force failed to properly supervise these people to lessen the risks’.
Also, ‘hundreds of items’ had gone missing from evidence lockers, including ‘cash and drugs’.