Over 700 investigations into Met officers after anti-corruption hotline launches

A Met police officer takes notes. Credit: PA

More than 700 investigations have been launched by Britain’s biggest police force after nearly 3,000 contacts to an anti-corruption hotline in the first 18 months of operation.

The figures for the Metropolitan Police were revealed on Thursday as the police anti-corruption and abuse reporting service was rolled out nationally.

A series of harrowing scandals, including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens, and then-Pc David Carrick being unmasked as a serial rapist, led the Met to be the first force to start using the service in November 2022.

It will now be available for reports about all UK police forces, either online or by calling 0800 085 0000, and will be run by the independent charity Crimestoppers, which will allow anonymous tip-offs.

Information can be passed on about potential crimes including police officers, staff or volunteers who may be accepting bribes, abusing their position, mistreating their partner or expressing racist, homophobic, misogynistic or disablist beliefs.

Details will be passed on to the relevant force for assessment and may lead to an investigation.

So far for the Met, since November 2022, there have been 1,988 calls and 890 online reports, with 867 pieces of intelligence passed onto the force.

This has led to 728 Met investigations, and the remaining 139 reports were passed to other relevant police forces.

With both Wayne Couzens and Carrick, a series of opportunities were missed to root out their abhorrent behaviour, shaking public confidence in the police service to find wrongdoing in its own ranks.

Various other scandals also severely damaged the Met’s reputation, including two officers who were jailed for sharing pictures of the bodies of two murdered sisters, and deeply offensive and disturbing messages shared among some officers in WhatsApp groups.

Last month, an independent review by Lady Elish Angiolini found that a series of red flags were missed about Couzens, who was a serial sex offender in spiralling debt.

An inquiry found a series of red flags were missed about killer Wayne Couzens. Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA

Chief Constable Gavin Stephens, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), said: “This reporting service will enable us to take action by giving the public a new, anonymous and confidential route to report corruption, criminality, or abusive behaviour within policing.

“We do not underestimate the impact recent events have had on trust and confidence in policing, including the appalling findings of the Angiolini report.

“We have made progress in strengthening procedures around misconduct and vetting, and forces are taking a proactive approach to finding and rooting out wrongdoing.

"However, we know there is always more to do to ensure that we meet the high standards rightly expected and deserved by the public.

“The vast majority of police officers and staff act professionally and with integrity in the fulfilment of their duties to protect the public. We must take tough action to purge policing of those responsible for wrongdoing, for now and for the future.

Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp said public confidence in police has been severely damaged. Credit: PA

“This year, we checked our entire workforce for unknown allegations or concerns and will begin long-term screening to ensure that there is no place for corrupt or abusive officers and staff to hide in our forces.”

Policing minister Chris Philp said: “Public confidence in our police has been severely damaged.

"There can be no stone left unturned in our efforts to clean up the workforce and culture, and rebuild trust.

“This anonymous helpline will give people the confidence to challenge the behaviour of officers who fall below the high standards the public deserve.

“This is alongside a broad range of continuous action being taken to root out officers unfit to serve and tighten vetting processes to ensure the right people are in policing.”

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