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Metropolitan 2016

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This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of the Metropolitan Police Service. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.

The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement.

The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

Matt Parr, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Matt Parr

HMI's observations

I am satisfied with some aspects of the Metropolitan Police Service’s overall performance, but there are some areas of serious concern about its effectiveness that the force needs to address.

The Metropolitan Police Service faces particular challenges because of the threats to London, and because of the size and complexity of the organisation. Londoners can be proud of the force’s response alongside other emergency services to the recent attack in Westminster, and the force has demonstrated its vigilance and preparedness for major incidents.

However, I am concerned about several aspects of the force’s performance and the difficulties it has in providing a consistently good service to the people of London.

These shortcomings were evident in our inspection on child protection, which found that none of the borough or specialist teams assessed were doing a good enough job in protecting vulnerable children from harm. This was a troubling finding, and I am pleased that senior officers recognise the need for urgent change.

I was reassured that the force understands the importance of involving the public in setting neighbourhood policing priorities, and also by its investment in crime prevention. It has sound processes for responding to reported incidents.

Since last year, the force has made progress on investigating crime, and some features of its approach are good. However, I have concerns about the quality of the initial stages of its investigations and, in particular, the shortage of trained detectives within the force.

The force makes good use of its own intelligence to tackle serious and organised crime, but the lack of data from other organisations, such as local authorities, means that the force does not have a complete picture of the threats to the people of London. Although the force’s response to serious and organised crime is effective in many respects, it does not yet routinely use other organisations or neighbourhood policing effectively in tackling serious and organised crime.

I am, however, pleased that the force has continued to be efficient. Despite the shortcomings in its intelligence on serious and organised crime, it is good at understanding the current and likely future demand for its services, and it has a strong track record of achieving savings while managing a broad range of national responsibilities. The force works with other agencies to get a broader understanding of what generates demand, and of how to reduce inefficient practices.

However, while the force responds to calls to service based on the likely threat and risk of harm to those involved, it could do more to make some of its practices more efficient. For example, officers who first attend a call could improve their assessments of how difficult the crimes in question would be to solve, taking into account their seriousness.

The Metropolitan Police Service works hard to treat the people it serves with fairness and respect. There is a good understanding within the force of how fair and respectful treatment links to increased public confidence. The force has an effective engagement strategy, and regularly seeks feedback from the public. Borough confidence plans help guide local activity in communities, although not all officers are aware of their local plan.

I welcome the investment by the force in well-being and welfare services for its workforce, and the recognition by the force that it needs to apply these provisions more consistently. However, the force needs to improve its vetting, which does not comply with national policy, and its counter-corruption procedures: the force does not have the capacity to investigate all the actionable intelligence it receives.

In view of these findings, I have been in regular contact with the commissioner. I am reassured that the force is taking action to address my concerns.


The Metropolitan Police Service provides policing services to Greater London. Although there are areas of acute deprivation within the force area there are also areas of extreme affluence. The force area is home to around 8.7 million people, who live in a predominantly urban setting. The force covers the urban conurbation of Greater London, including the City of Westminster.

The resident population is ethnically very diverse, with 40 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and is increased by the very large numbers of university students and of those who visit, socialise in, commute into, or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes 37 miles of motorway and trunk roads, major rail stations, public transport hubs and major airports.

The proportion of areas in the Metropolitan Police Service that are predicted (on the basis of detailed economic and demographic analysis) to present a very high challenge to the police is very high compared with the national average. The most challenging areas are generally characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising, or travelling in the area.

Features that both cause and/or indicate a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises including licensed premises and fast-food premises, public transport, and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are combined.

Working arrangements

The Metropolitan Police Service works with the London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade on a number of areas of business including call handling, co-location, facilities management and training. The force also works with other partner organisations at a local level (including local authorities, the NHS and mental health service providers) to improve the efficiency and quality of its services.

The force is proposing to reorganise its local policing, reducing the number of borough operational command units from 32 to between 12 and 16. It is also proposing to review its management structures.

The Metropolitan Police Service has several national responsibilities. For example, the force leads the policing response to counter-terrorism for England and Wales, and it provides protection to senior members of government and the royal family.

Looking ahead to 2017

In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how the force responds to this assessment and to the areas for improvement that HMIC identified last year.

I will be particularly interested to see:

  • how well the Metropolitan Police Service implements its ambitious change programme (‘One Met Model 2020’), which is designed to transform how the force provides its services and achieve savings;
  • how the force will improve its approach to protecting children;
  • how the force will improve the quality of its investigations; and
  • how the force will improve its vetting and counter-corruption procedures.


How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 02/03/2017
Requires improvement

The Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement in respect of its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force works hard to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, but its inadequate approach to keeping vulnerable people safe is a cause of concern to HMIC. The quality of some investigations and its management of offenders also require improvement. Its response to gangs is impressive, but its wider approach to tackling serious and organised crime requires improvement.

The Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

The force is clearly committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It understands the importance of involving the public in setting neighbourhood level policing priorities. It is investing well in crime prevention, but the force does not routinely review the effectiveness of its tactics to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

The force has good processes in place to respond to reported incidents. However, the quality of initial investigations needs to improve, which, together with a shortage of trained detectives, is undermining the force’s investigation performance. The force’s approach to integrated offender management has improved but needs to be more consistent. Local police teams are not routinely involved in the management and monitoring of registered sex offenders who live in their local community.

How the force protects vulnerable people and supports victims is inadequate. Awareness and consideration of vulnerable people by officers and staff has improved a little since 2015. Information, systems and process for dealing with vulnerability in general, and in areas such as missing and absent children, have been made clearer. Despite this, problems remain: examples are understanding the links between missing and absent children and child sexual exploitation, and thinking about all individuals and risk in domestic abuse incidents.

The force makes good use of its own intelligence to tackle serious and organised crime, but the absence of information from other organisations with which it works means that it does not have a full picture of the threats to London’s communities. The force’s response to serious and organised crime is effective in some respects; however, it does not routinely the best use of partner organisations or neighbourhood policing to tackle serious and organised crime.

The force has the necessary arrangements in place to test its preparedness for national threats. It has assessed comprehensively the threat of attacks requiring an armed response.

View the five questions for effectiveness


How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 03/11/2016

The Metropolitan Police Service has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. It analyses demand for its services, including emerging and hidden crime. It also seeks the public’s views on its services. The force has plans to improve its information and communications technology (ICT) and has workable plans to meet future savings requirements. However, it could do more to manage demand.

The Metropolitan Police Service is good at understanding its current and likely future demand. The force analyses the demand for its services and works with other agencies to get a broader picture of what causes demand, and to understand how to reduce inefficient practices. It has worked on understanding emerging demand and hidden crime and has a wide variety of initiatives to help prevent crime. The force is using various ways to find out what the public expects.

The Metropolitan Police Service is also good at planning for demand in the future. The force’s medium-term financial strategy sets out its savings targets until 2020.

It has detailed plans to oversee progress. It has ambitious plans for its future use of ICT, which it believes will help other change programmes succeed, but this is dependant on the force providing sufficient training; this had not been fully planned at the time of our inspection.

The force’s financial plans appear to be realistic and they propose changes in areas such as the force’s estate, technology and the way local policing is organised to achieve efficiencies for reinvestment. The force is short of business analysts and project managers with experience of working on large-scale change programmes, including carrying out benefits identification and review. It is now working with a single strategic partner; the skills and knowledge obtained should be transferred back to the force.

However, the Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement in how well it uses it resources to manage current demand. The force met most of the priorities set in the Mayor of London’s police and crime plan 2013−16, and has started to increase resources to protect vulnerable people. The force allocates resources to meet demand on a monthly basis using using a risk assessment tool, called THRIVE, and reviews them daily to respond to changes in demand. The force responds to calls to service based on THRIVE, but it could do more to manage demand, and to assess when an officer first attends a call whether a crime is capable of being solved (known as ‘solvability’).

The force has identified where it does not have the skills it needs in its workforce, and invested to fill those gaps. Some have been filled, but some remain in investigation and analysts with experience of identifying and reviewing programme benefits (known as business analysts). The force has not prioritised collaboration, but it does work with other agencies to manage demand effectively. It plans greater collaboration with blue-light emergency services. A lack of understanding of the impact and benefits of ICT change projects together with a lack of review and rigorous oversight has led to inefficiencies; the force has learned lessons from previous mistakes and change projects will now be subject to professional project management before being started.

View the three questions for efficiency


How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 08/12/2016

The Metropolitan Police Service has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy. The force works hard to ensure it treats all of the people it serves, and its workforce, with fairness and respect, but it needs to improve the way it ensures its workforce is behaving ethically and lawfully.

The Metropolitan Police Service is working hard to ensure it treats all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It understands the importance of this and how it affects public confidence in the force. The force has an engagement strategy and seeks feedback from the public, regularly reviewing results from the public attitude survey. Borough confidence plans help guide local community engagement activity, but not all officers we spoke with were aware of their local plan, and some survey results suggest more needs to be done.

The force requires improvement in ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. New recruits receive training based on the force’s values, ethics and professionalism and the workforce is aware of the Code of Ethics and the force’s values. The force has a vetting policy and procedure, but it carries out re-vetting based on business needs, which is not in line with the national policy. It clarifies and reinforces acceptable behaviour, and officers and staff are confident about reporting concerns to their supervisor. The force provides its workforce with awareness training about inappropriate relationships. However, the force recognises the abuse of authority for sexual gain as serious misconduct, as opposed to serious corruption, and does not have a counter-corruption strategic risk assessment or a control strategy. Further, the force does not actively seek intelligence on corrupt activities.

The Metropolitan Police Service is good in how it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. It uses a range of methods to identify and understand the areas affecting workforce perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. The force’s review of its performance appraisal process reflected the workforce’s dissatisfaction with it and they have taken steps to improve it. The force has invested in wellbeing and comprehensive guidance is available on the force intranet. Supervisors receive training and told us that they are clear about their wellbeing responsibilities. However, inconsistency among supervisors in providing support to those who need it remains a problem for the force. The force is intent on improving wellbeing provision so it is more consistently applied.

View the three questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

How well has the force performed in our other inspections?

In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections; others are joint inspections.

Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.


Last updated 08/12/2016

Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has set out clearly what it expects from its leaders at all ranks and grades. The MPS works with some of its workforce to develop its leadership principles and publicises these widely. However, the workforce still does not understand fully what these leadership expectations mean for them in practice. The MPS is working to address this by running a series of leadership events for its workforce, at which these leadership expectations are explored and clarified. The MPS has different ways to try and understand its leadership capability across the whole force; it closes any gaps in skills with training and recruitment.

The MPS offers an extensive range of development opportunities to officers, some of which are aimed at those with the most talent and potential. It also attracts candidates through Direct Entry and Fast Track schemes. But no similar schemes are in place for police staff – although they can apply for the police officer Direct Entry schemes, and all police staff roles are open to Direct Entry candidates. Police staff feel that there are limited opportunities for them to develop their skills and to progress through the organisation.

The MPS responds well when it has identified that is has problems with its leaders and we found several high-profile examples where this is addressed. Officers and staff feel, however, that the force should deal with these problems earlier so that they do not become more serious.

The MPS has forged strong links with local academic institutions and industry to develop new ways of working. It is straightforward for its workforce to submit ideas to improve working practices. We found some examples of where it has implemented these initiatives. The force’s management board is made up of officers and staff from a range of background and skills as well as two recently-appointed non-executive advisors from the private sector.

Elsewhere, the MPS is developing diverse leadership teams, although its focus here is principally on ethnicity and gender rather than broader diversity issues such as the other protected characteristics. The MPS has made considerable progress in recruiting more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) officers than ever before, in part due to its residency criteria which increase the pool of diverse candidates for constable recruitment. These criteria mean that those who are applying come from a smaller area geographically but, as would be expected, are more reflective of London. The force remains focused on continuing to increase numbers even further.

View the three questions for leadership

Other reports

Last updated 24/10/2016

This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Metropolitan Police Service.

View other reports

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

606 square miles


8.99m people
up12% local 10 yr change


92% frontline police officers
92% national level
4.91 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
down13% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.07 per person
0.06 national level
down4% Local 5 year trend
up9% National 5 year trend


90p per person per day local
59p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • The Met is the biggest police service in the UK and the largest city force in the European Union, serving a population of 8.17 million – up 12 percent in a decade.
  • The Met receives around 5 million calls annually and in 2015/16 recorded 673,000 victim-based offences. We have a wide range of units from routine patrol to specialist units e.g. counter-terrorism and royal protection.

Police and crime plan priorities

The Mayor’s ambition for policing and crime is to make London a safer city for all Londoners, no matter who you are or where you live.

He intends to do that while adhering to two key principles – putting victims first and reducing inequalities within communities.

As such, the priorities for the Policing and Crime Plan 2017-2021 are:-

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  1. A better police service for London –protecting the vulnerable, restoring real neighbourhood policing, transforming the Met for the 21st century and delivering the strategic policing capability.
  2. A better criminal justice service for London – putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system (CJS), reducing reoffending and working to reform the CJS.
  3. Keeping children and young people safe – protecting and safeguarding the vulnerable, reducing knife crime, address the gangs problem in London, reduce young people entering the CJS and cut reoffending.
  4. Tackling violence against women and girls – putting victims first and ensuring they get the help they need, preventing violence and enforcing the law.
  5. Standing up to extremism, hatred and intolerance – taking a zero tolerance approach to hate crime, work across London for social integration and safeguarding against radicalisation.

The Mayor is clear that local police priorities are best set locally and based on evidence and data. Equally, we are clear that high-harm crimes and organised crime must always be taken into consideration when setting local priorities. We are working with councils and the Met in each Borough to achieve this.