Two former female Met Police officers say the current system isn’t ‘fit for purpose’ at Scotland Yard following a string of scandals, which resulted in the resignation of Dame Cressida Dick
Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Two former female officers at the Met Police have called on the force to completely overhaul its vetting system after Dame Cressida Dick quit as Commissioner amid claims of a misogyny and racism.
Alice Vinten, 40, was a police officer at the Met for 11 years and says the current system is no longer “fit for purpose.”
She said: “I do think all officers need to be re-vetted, and the original vetting process needs to be hardened.
“Cressida resigning will not solve or address the systemic misogyny in the Met.”
Mum-of-two Alice left the force in 2015 as the macho culture left her “despondent”.
She says that without an overhaul of the vetting and training system, the three officers who worked with Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens and allegedly shared racist and misogynistic messages with him “still have the power to follow in his footsteps.”
“That is a terrifying thought,” says Alice.
“I don’t think changing the Commissioner will do anything to change the culture – it needs to be from the ground up and male officers need to be calling each other out. It needs to be bystander action.
“A lot of men join in with behavior because of the ‘us and them mentality’ of the Met – if you don’t join in you get a reputation of betraying the team and betraying your family.
“It’s gang mentality. And sometimes people have been sacked for whistle-blowing on these things.”
Dame Dick resigned from the role on Thursday after London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “not satisfied” she could “root out the racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny that still exist” in the force.
It followed high-profile cases of sexism and misogyny among some Met officers.
Mr Khan said the final straw was the police watchdog’s report into 14 cops who joked about rape, LGBT people and violence towards women in WhatsApp messages.
He said he was “shocked”, and that “the response from the Commissioner wasn’t up to the scale of the change required in the Met Police Service”.
It comes after Scotland Yard was also criticized for the handling of Downing Street partygate and Ms Everard’s murder.
Dame Cressida became the first woman to lead the UK’s biggest police force in 2017.
Former Met superintendent Nusrit Mehtab, who was in the Met for 32 years, says a non-police officer should take on the role in order to destroy the institutionalized culture.
She said: “I think for the first time we need an independent, elected post with a non-police officer in control.
“They don’t need to be an operational officer – I think we may see a Commissioner for the first time who is not a police officer, and that person can then totally clear the decks in management and assess policies and procedures.
“A high-ranking officer will be part of the institutionalized culture and will then be feeding it downwards.”
Nusrit also agrees that the “vetting and recruitment system needs a complete overhaul”.
She added: “The culture has got worse in the last five years and that’s because Cressida hasn’t gripped and controlled the systemic racism and misogyny.
“Over the last five years, there has been a lot of navel-gazing and she has been denying misogyny and racism and supporting her officers – the control has gone and this culture has been allowed to flourish.
“She has made her bed and she has to lie in it. It’s like a parent denying the bad behavior of a child.
“Officers are supportive of her because she hasn’t taken any of them to task and that’s why this toxic culture has got out of control.
“Policies, procedures and conduct need a complete re-haul and there need to be safe spaces for whistle-blowers who get harassed, hounded and thrown out of the force.”
The Mirror’s newsletter brings you the latest news, exciting showbiz and TV stories, sport updates and essential political information.
The newsletter is emailed out first thing every morning, at 12 noon and every evening.
Never miss a moment by signing up to our newsletter here.
A statement from Scotland Yard said: “The Commissioner has asked Baroness Louise Casey to lead an independent and far-reaching review into our culture and standards of professional and personal behaviour. The review will ask difficult questions to ensure there are lasting improvements to the service we provide for all Londoners.
“While this process is on-going we recognize that we need to take urgent action to improve. We have already increased the number of investigators in our professional standards department to strengthen our capability to root out people who abuse their positions of trust.
“We are listening to Londoners, stakeholders and our partners. We recognize change won’t happen overnight, but all of us are determined to do everything we can to improve.”