The author of a damning report into the Metropolitan Police has called on the force’s chief to accept its problems with racism, sexism and homophobia are “institutional”.
Baroness Louise Casey published her conclusions last week, pointing to widespread bullying, racist attitudes and “deep-seated homophobia” in the force.
But despite saying he accepted the “diagnosis” of prejudice in the force, Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said he would not use the term “institutional” because he viewed it as politicised.
Sir Mark again refused to accept the term when appearing before the London Assembly’s police and crime committee the following day, saying it was “ambiguous” and a political term that might imply most people in the Met were racist.
Last week, Baroness Casey said his remarks were the equivalent of a “get-out-of-jail card” for those facing scrutiny over difficult subjects.
Now, she has said it would “mean so much” for the senior officer to accept her phrasing, saying it would “really help move things on”.
Speaking on a debate programme on BBC Radio 4 alongside Sir Mark, she added: “I think it’s really important for Londoners, and particularly people of colour in London, and women and children, that somehow there’s a moment where actually just sort of accepting what people want you to accept is more important than me, or you, or even the report I suppose, Mark.
“So, I sort of think to myself, this is where we are in 2023, and it would just mean so much, I think, if we could – I know you accept it all – but also accept the description, I think, whether it’s organisational or institutional.
“I just think it would really help move things on.”
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Mina Smallman, the mother of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, also took part in the debate, and said she was “gobsmacked” at Sir Mark’s refusal to use the term.
But again, the Met commissioner would not accept the phrasing, telling the programme that while he “fully” accepted Baroness Casey’s report, “institutional” meant different things to different people and was “quite ambiguous”.