Met Police corruption approach ‘not fit for purpose’, scathing watchdog probe finds

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Inspectors found that lessons have not been learned since the unsolved 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan

A probe found lessons have still not been learned since the murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan in 1987
A probe found lessons have still not been learned since the murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan in 1987

The Met Police’s approach to tackling corruption is “not fit for purpose”, a watchdog has found in a scathing ruling.

Inspectors found that lessons have not been learned since the unsolved 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan.

A report published today found that the Met’s procedures for rooting out corrupt staff are “fundamentally flawed” and it has a “degree of indifference” to the risks.

The review was carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) after an independent inquiry into how the force handled Mr Morgan’s case found it was institutionally corrupt.

The HMICFRS inspection found “no evidence of any deliberate or co-ordinated attempts” by the Met to “frustrate” the work of the Morgan inquiry – and said while there was much to criticize, based on this inspection “it would not describe the Met as institutionally corrupt”.

Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said that the Met had “sometimes behaved in ways that make it appear arrogant, secretive and lethargic”.

He said improvements must be “among the commissioner’s highest priorities” in order to restore public trust in the force.







Outgoing Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick
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Image:

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

He said: “It is unacceptable that 35 years after Daniel Morgan’s murder, the Metropolitan Police has not done enough to ensure its failings from that investigation cannot be repeated.

“In fact, we found no evidence that someone, somewhere, had adopted the view that this must never happen again.

“This will be understandably distressing for Mr Morgan’s family and friends, to whom we send our condolences.

“We found substantial weaknesses in the Met’s approach to tackling police corruption.

“From failing to properly supervise police officers who have previously committed offences, to inadequate vetting procedures, and much more besides, it is clear that the current arrangements are not fit for purpose.

“The Met’s apparent tolerance of these shortcomings suggests a degree of indifference to the risk of corruption.”

The watchdog found:

  • In the last two years, the Met recruited people with criminal connections and more than 100 people who have committed offenses. Some of these decisions “may have been justifiable, but the force failed to properly supervise these people to lessen the risks”
  • Property and exhibits procedures were “dire”. Hundreds of items were not accounted for, including cash and drugs. In one instance, the security access code for a property store was written on the outside of the door
  • The force does not know whether all those in sensitive posts – such as child protection, major crime investigation, and informant handling – have been cleared to the level of security vetting needed
  • More than 2,000 warrant cards issued to personnel who had since left the force were unaccounted for
  • The Met still “does not have the capability to proactively monitor its IT systems, despite repeated warnings from the inspectorate”. IT monitoring is used by most forces to help identify corrupt staff.

The HMICFRS did acknowledge the force’s “ability to investigate the most serious corruption allegations is particularly impressive, and other police forces regularly call on their expertise” and also praised its confidential reporting line and support provided to whistleblowers.







The report raised serious concerns about the way the Met deals with corruption (file image)
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Image:

GettyImages)

It also recognized that the Met had greatly reduced the number of personnel who were not security vetted.

The inspection also found “no evidence of any deliberate or co-ordinated attempts” by the Met to “frustrate” the work of the Morgan inquiry.

It said that although there was much to criticise, based on this inspection “it would not describe the Met as institutionally corrupt”.

Last week Mr Morgan’s family – who are suing the Met – claimed a “culture of corruption” continues to “flourish at the highest ranks” of the Met.

It came as the force continued to reject findings that it was institutionally corrupt, instead insisting it can be the “police service that London deserves” and said “Londoners should be reassured by our work” as it promised to keep trying to solve the killing in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London.

Police pursued thousands of lines of inquiry and conducted six extensive investigations into Mr Morgan’s death, while numerous independent assessments and five forensic reviews have already been carried out.

Another forensic review of evidence linked to the case has now been commissioned.

A £50,000 cash reward for information leading to a successful prosecution – one of the largest rewards ever made available by a UK police force – is still being offered.

Deputy commissioner Sir Stephen House said he was “professionally disappointed” that some of the force’s anti-corruption measures “have not been working well enough” and this was “already being put right”.

But he added: “There are some areas where our judgment is different from the police inspectorate.”

The force accepted “there is a lot of work to do in order to rebuild the trust people have in us” and “we remain completely focused on building a police service Londoners can be proud of”, Sir Stephen said.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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