Metropolitan Police's approach to corruption not fit for purpose
The Metropolitan Police Service’s approach to tackling police corruption is not fit for purpose, the police inspectorate has said.
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Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found that the Met had not learned all the lessons from its failed investigation into the 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan, which was hampered by police corruption.
Despite these findings, HMICFRS acknowledged that the Met’s capability to investigate the most serious corruption allegations is particularly impressive, and other police forces regularly call on their expertise.
The inspectorate praised the Met’s confidential reporting line and its dedicated team to support whistle-blowers. It also recognised that the Met had greatly reduced the number of personnel who were not security vetted.
However, the inspectorate’s overall finding was that the Met’s counter-corruption arrangements and procedures are fundamentally flawed. For example:
- in the past two years, the Met has recruited people with criminal connections and more than 100 people who have committed offences. Some of these recruitment 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 had been inscribed on the outside of the door;
- the force doesn’t 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;
- over 2,000 warrant cards issued to personnel who had since left the force were unaccounted for; and
- 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 enhance their ability to identify corrupt personnel.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr 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.
“We have made several recommendations for change. If public confidence in the Metropolitan Police is to be improved, they should be among the Commissioner’s highest priorities.”
The inspectorate said it found no evidence of any deliberate or coordinated attempts by the Met to frustrate the work of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel. It said that although there was much to criticise, based on this inspection it would not describe the Met as institutionally corrupt.