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  • Writer's pictureFarah Benis

The Systemic Problems of Misogyny within the Metropolitan Police

Misogyny and violence against women are long-standing issues permeating all aspects of society. In recent years, the Metropolitan Police in the UK has come under scrutiny for their handling of cases involving violence against women, particularly in light of recent high-profile cases such as those of David Carrick and Wayne Couzens.

David Carrick, a Metropolitan police officer, was sentenced to over 30 years in prison just this week for dozens of crimes including rape and sexual violence. It was revealed that Carrick was subject to nine separate police investigations across two decades and he never faced a misconduct hearing or any disruption to his career. The case highlights the prevalence of misogyny within the police force and raises numerous questions about the vetting processes for police officers and how they handle misconduct investigations.

Wayne Couzens, a serving Metropolitan police officer, was charged with the kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard in 2021. The case sparked nationwide protests and discussions about the police's handling of violence against women. The handling of the case and police crackdown on vigils showed just how tone-deaf the Metropolitan Police is to public sentiment.

In both of these cases, the victims were women, and they highlight the systemic misogyny that persists within the Met. The police are meant to serve and protect the public, but these high profile cases demonstrate that they are also perpetrators of violence against women.

Currently, 800 Met Police officers are being investigated, facing sexual and domestic abuse claims and other accusations of potential Met Police misconduct. The Met has also announced that a further total of 1,633 cases of alleged sexual offences or domestic violence involving 1,071 officers and other staff are also being assessed from the last ten years to ensure suitable judgements were made.

The high number of officers under investigation solidifies the sentiment that there is a widespread problem of sexual misconduct and misogyny within the force. This suggests a serious lack of proper accountability and a culture that allows such behaviour to go unchallenged. This is particularly concerning given the critical role that the police play in protecting and serving the public.

It also raises questions about the internal processes for investigating such allegations and the time it takes for the investigations to reach a conclusion. With recent news published in the Times that retired officers with a history of misconduct are being asked to rejoin the force in an effort to boost numbers, campaigners and the public alike are questioning just how serious the Met is about boosting public confidence.

The recent revelation of WhatsApp groups in which grossly offensive materials have been shared from officers across the force showing more issues within the police is a concerning development. The existence of these groups, and the content shared within them, reinforces the broader problem of unacceptable behaviour and attitudes within the police force. The contents of these WhatsApp groups suggest that some police officers engage in behaviour that is incompatible with the values of a professional law enforcement agency.

In addition to the impact on public trust and confidence in the police, such behaviour can also damage morale within the police force. It creates a culture of fear and mistrust, where officers are afraid to speak out against unacceptable behaviour for fear of retaliation.

The impact this news will likely have on public trust in the police cannot be overstated. The police force relies on the trust and cooperation of the public to do its job effectively. A public that already feels that the police are not taking allegations of sexual misconduct and misogyny seriously and that the police force is not doing enough to address these issues, which has led to what could be an irreparable loss of confidence in the police and a breakdown in the relationship between the police and the communities it serves.

So What is Next?

All of this highlights the need for the police force to take a more proactive approach to address these problems. This could include implementing better training programs, improving internal investigation processes, and engaging in more open and transparent communication with the public. Only then can we look to restore public trust in the police and ensure that the police force is held accountable for its actions.

The Metropolitan Police has acknowledged the need to address these issues and has taken steps to improve their response to violence against women. This includes implementing new training programs, establishing a Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) command, and launching a public awareness campaign. However, much work still needs to be done to ensure that the police are adequately equipped to handle cases of violence against women and that victims receive the justice they deserve.

It is imperative that the police take meaningful action to address these issues and ensure that women feel safe and protected in their communities. With one in three women being murdered in the UK every week, the police need to be trusted, something difficult to do when they are contributing to those statistics themselves. Only then can we hope to make real progress in the fight against violence against women.


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