Police officers with a misconduct record are being asked to return to the Metropolitan Police in efforts to fill the gaps in the ranks of Britain’s largest force.
A total of 253 officers who had action taken against them after misconduct proceedings have been asked to re-join, along with a further 99 officers who retired mid-investigation.
The background checks of police officers has been widely criticised by a police watchdog after their official report found a ‘prevalent’ culture of ‘misogyny, sexism and predatory behaviour’ towards both female police officers and members of the public.
It found that chiefs were ‘complacent’ with abuses of power by serving officers and the cover up of crimes such as sexual assault and harassment. The report was initially commissioned following the murder of Sarah Everard by then serving Metropolitan officer, Wayne Couzens.
The inadequate police vetting checks have come under further scrutiny following the recent revelations of David Carrick, a senior Met officer who became one of the most prolific sex offenders in British modern history. Over the course of two decades, Carrick committed 48 rapes against 12 women, often using his status as means of luring victims before telling them they would not be believed if they came forward. The Met agreed they failed to spot Carrick’s danger despite being told about eight alleged attacks Carrick inflicted upon Women between 2000 to 2021, prior to his arrest. The force later admitted they ignored all 8 warnings of his dangerous behaviour.
Public concern has turned from not only the defective vetting checks, but the now transparent recruitment of officers with a misconduct record.
The sanctions against the 253 officers remain unknown and the force has failed to deny whether any of the cases involved gross misconduct. A Freedom of Information request has established that six officers have returned to the Met following the job offer.
Met commissioner Mark Rowley said that the force is facing difficulty in meeting recruitment targets.
London mayor Sadiq Khan commented that ‘no officers with misconduct proven against them during their career should return to the Met.’ He adds that ‘[there are] assurances from the Met that any officers returning will meet the high standards and values expected.’
When asked for comment, the Met said the scheme aims to ‘retain experienced police officers in the Met’ whilst the force continues to grow. They confirmed that all officers on the scheme would be “subject to full vetting, including unsatisfactory police performance checks, medical clearance, and reference checks from previous line/senior managers.”