In the United Kingdom, an extensive report has been published on the behavior and culture of the London Metropolitan Police (MET), commissioned two years ago by the MET itself after the kidnapping, rape and murder in London of Sarah Everard, whose manager was just a MET agent later sentenced to life imprisonment. The case had provoked a major debate on the violence, misogyny and sexism of police officers: the newly published report not only confirms and documents these allegations, but adds further elements on the entrenched homophobia and racism within the MET.
– Read also: The institutional misogyny of the British police
The newly published report is 363 pages long and the research was coordinated by Louise Casey, a British government official.
Some of the most discussed results of the report concern precisely the sexist culture of the MET: episodes of sexual harassment are documented, very often left unpunished, without adequate measures being taken against those responsible or to prevent it from happening again. 12 percent of MET officers said they experienced harassment or assault at work, and the report witnessed daily sexist and intimidating comments made by officers to officers, as well as jokes and jokes about raped or raped women. .
Among other things, a lesbian agent told of a colleague, known for his machismo among colleagues, who during an evening shift in which they were alone told her to “warm up his balls”, then making life impossible for her at work in the face of his refusal. Also in that case the agent had complained to her superiors but no action had been taken, and indeed the agent had then been promoted. Overall, the report says that 30 percent of LGBT+ officers report being bullied for their sexual orientation.
– Read also: The English policeman who committed dozens of sexual assaults
The report also includes testimonies on bullying within the police force, a problem that mainly affects younger police officers, with stories of even very violent “initiation rites”. For example, there is talk of a young agent forced to eat enormous quantities of cheese until she vomits, and one sexually assaulted while taking a shower.
Another big problem concerns racism. A Muslim officer said he found his boots stuffed with bacon (Muslim people don’t eat pork), a Sikh officer when his beard was forcibly shaved (in the Sikh religion men traditionally wear long or unshaven shaved), a black officer to have been called a «monkey». Overall, the report says the Metropolitan Police continues to be a predominantly white body, and as such underrepresentative of the ethnic and cultural diversity of the city it has to deal with.
The report then mentions a series of problems related to the unpreparedness and lack of economic resources of the Metropolitan Police, which have contributed to damaging its efficiency and credibility. One of the situations most reported in the press concerns the refrigerators in which the police keep evidence of rapes or sexual offenses (such as underwear or blood samples): they are “overloaded, dilapidated or broken”, and a police officer who spoke in anonymously told the BBC that in some cases this led to abandoning cases under investigation.
There are also serious shortcomings with regard to the preparation and training of agents on crimes involving child abuse: in 2021, 50 percent of agents specialized in this type of crime did not follow the required refresher courses and other agents who those who occupy them tell of being few and overloaded with work.
According to Casey, all of this has led to a big drop in public trust in the Metropolitan Police, with around 50 per cent of Londoners saying they trust them. Trust is lacking especially among black people, whom Casey says the police are disproportionately aggressive and suspicious of: according to the report, and as in other countries, black people are more likely to be stopped, frisked, handcuffed or batons when there are fights.
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