The Met Police has allowed five officers who were disciplined over the failings of Stephen Port’s victims to be promoted. We should be outraged, says Liam Gilliver
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All eyes were on Cressida Dick yesterday as she finally confirmed the Met Police WILL investigate allegations of No10’s lockdown-flouting parties.
Dick acknowledged the “deep public concern” surrounding the PM’s surprise birthday bash, which took place despite Covid restrictions banning social events indoors.
And while holding Boris Johnson to account over claims he broke the very rules he implemented is important – the partygate scandal has given the Met a much-needed smokescreen.
They’re the names of the victims who the Met failed; who might still be alive if institutionalized homophobia wasn’t rife in the police force – if gay were as worthy as straight.
Yesterday, a coroner slammed police for “serious and basic investigative failings” of the four men, all killed by Stephen Port in near-identical circumstances.
Dubbed the ‘Grindr Killer’, Port drugged and raped his victims before murdering them. The twisted ex-chef dumped three bodies next to a local church and one near his flat in east London.
But despite the clear alarm bells of a serial killer on the loose, Met officers failed to link the deaths to Port or flag the crimes as suspicious.
Then, following an inquiry in 2015, police were disciplined over the failings. However, five officers who were reprimanded are now serving in more senior ranks.
That’s right, a promotion for failing the most essential part of your job: keeping people safe.
It’s an egregious insult to the victims’ families, to the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, and it demonstrates once again that gay men are still lesser-than in today’s society.
But it’s not surprising. Last year, former police chief Brian Paddick said he was once told it’s fine to be gay – as long as you act like a straight white man, adding the force was in “denial” when it came to addressing its discriminatory attitudes.
And, we all remember the Met’s advice to women in fear of fake male officers after Wayne Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard: “wave a bus down”.
Dick could have used yesterday’s live conference to slam the Met’s issue with institutionalized homophobia, sexism and racism. She could have sacked the officers who failed to protect the lives of four young men.
Instead? She praised the Met for hiring LGBTQ+ volunteers and announced all sudden deaths will be treated with suspicion.
But where is the justice in that? Where is the accountability or admission of wrongdoing? Why should queer people VOLUNTEER to help a homophobic system keep us alive?
If it was any other day, criticism for the Met would be inevitable. But the Partygate fiasco has distracted our attention – it’s created an outrage so intense it’s difficult to concentrate on anything else.
And I get it. I’m angry too. But if we are complacent now, when we’re at the precipice of forcing the Met to abolish its corrupt structure, history will repeat itself.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.