Earlier this week Baroness Louise Casey published her independent review into the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service.
This is a pivotal moment, not just for the Met Police but for all British police forces. Public confidence is already plumbing the depths and the publication of the Casey report could sink it for years to come.
It is true that, when the Met sneezes, all other forces catch a cold because of its scale and impact in national headlines and public perception.
You cannot police with the public’s consent if you have lost their confidence and trust and too many awful cases of police abuse of authority, corruption and criminality are now permanently seared into the public’s memory.
We talk about police forces reflecting the communities they are drawn from but it doesn’t mean accepting that a certain proportion will be corrupt or incompetent.
Police officers have powers that we don’t so they need to meet and uphold the highest standards.
It will certainly cost the Met and all forces to make the necessary changes and investment to widen diversity, to vet and re-vet officers and staff.
That will take money and resources and valuable leadership time from senior officers but… we can’t afford not to.
Sussex Police & Crime Panel
The Casey report was the main subject of questions in today’s Police and Crime Panelmeeting as many members expressed their dismay and disappointment at the findings.
Panel members asked me for reassurances on how Sussex Police was ensuring that officers and staff upheld the highest standards and how the force could continue to secure the confidence of women and girls and ethnic minority communities in particular.
I highlighted the thorough re-vetting process currently underway and said that Sussex Police’s “Break the Silence” anonymous reporting channel was an internal route for reporting fellow officers for corruption, abuse or inappropriate behaviour.
I outlined the improvements and changes in the way Sussex Police tackles violence against women and girls that is being implemented within the force led by a dedicated Superintendent. I also explained about the implementation of their Race Action Plan.
Panel members were also presented with a report into the work of my Independent Custody Volunteer (ICV) Scheme and the innovations on detainee health and well-being that have been developed by our ICV Scheme Manager Claire Taylor and which are now being embedded in custody suites across the country.
You can read my full response to the Casey report on my website.
Katy Bourne OBE
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner