TL;DR: A report into the Met Police in the wake of Sarah Everard's murder found the UK's largest police force was institutionally homophobic, racist and sexist, and questioned whether the force should continue to exist. It verifies what many LGBTQIA+ people have known for far too long: anti-queer prejudice is baked into the force's practices.
An independent report published this week found that London’s Metropolitan Police is institutionally homophobic, racist and sexist. It even goes as far as asking if the force is fit for purpose.
The report confirms what many Londoners knew already. But its impact is significant.
Baroness Casey Review: What does the report say?
Written by Baroness Louise Casey, a government official, it found many serving LGBTQIA+ officers were being routinely bullied.
Specifically, 22% of LGBTQIA+ respondents said they had experienced some form of bullying while at work. 14% said it occurred every week. That's a stark figure - for any organisation - Report
LGBTQIA+ officers have reported 'obsessive' homophobia from senior officers. The report notes some were asked if they were "up for threesomes", and told gay sex was “disgusting”. It outlines how much of this was was brushed under the carpet - PinkNews
Queer and lesbian women, in particular, faced deeply personal questions about their sex lives in the Met, including questions like “who’s the man in the bedroom?”, or whether they were “chatting up” members of the public.
Even this quick glance at the report makes clear how deeply rooted homophobia is within the Metropolitan Police. Of course, to many this is not news. Met prejudice has been self-evident to Londoners for decades - and there is no better example than the Stephen Port murders.
As the gripping but heartbreaking drama Four Lives showed, homophobia played a huge part in the failure to prevent the murders. The victims’ families reiterated calls for the Met to take responsibility - Evening Standard
Interviewing the Met Police: My experience said it all
I remember when I went to speak to Met Police officers about chemsex.
In that interview, they admitted for the first time they'd made mistakes around the Port case - Gay Star News
When I entered that famous Embankment building, I took the lift with the two detectives I was interviewing, and quite by accident we shared it with lesbian and then-leader of the Met, Cressida Dick.
It was strange to see the person ultimately responsible for the failures I was investigating right there, in her jogging outfit. And as I went further into the building for an extended interview - two hours - something else strange became apparent.
The officers, who were supposed to be specialists in chemsex, had little understanding of what it meant to the gay community. At one point, they said they'd learned more about it from reading my articles than they had on the beat.
All the while, there was an aura of smugness. From Cressida Dick in her sporty attire to the Senior Police Officers talking matter-of-factly about failing so many gay men, their attitude told me they thought they knew better than this kid journalist.
I'd spent months listening to survivors of chemsex, sexual assault and addiction - understanding their pain. They understood so little.
Even when they admitted some level of fault, it was like watching naughty schoolchildren who didn't want to apologise.
Analysis: Not just bad apples
Many have asked why the Police seem at war with the capital they are supposed to protect, as Paul Mason sets out in the New Statesman. This report finally gives us an answer. Its values are at odds with a city that many flock to to be themselves.
The Met has long blamed 'bad apples' for its failures. It's a phrase so well-known it's even been referenced in Line Of Duty. This report puts that argument to bed.
Indeed, the review itself notes that the Met has "only reluctantly accepted discrimination" and has "preferred to put this down to a minority of ‘bad apples’."
Instead, the extent of prejudice on many levels has been brutally brought into the open.
Policing is supposed to be conducted by consent in the UK. But, as this report sets out, the Met is in danger of losing that from Londoners. It could even be split up entirely and branded as not fit for purpose.
It's a moment of reckoning that many campaigners over the years have long called for.
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