Met Police chief Mark Rowley says government is holding up plans to sack rogue officers

Sir Mark said the current system is too slow and he cannot appeal against ‘unduly lenient decisions’

Cormac Pearson
Thursday 10 August 2023 08:24 BST
Mark Rowley says he is 'embarrassed and humbled' by Casey report findings

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley has said the government is holding up plans to give police the power to sack rogue officers.

Writing in The Times, Sir Mark Rowley said he was leading the strongest “doubling down on standards” in the past 50 years but needs “others to do more”.

He said: “I have been consistent in calling on the government to reform police misconduct processes, so that police chiefs can be more decisive in dismissing rogue officers and restoring public confidence.”

While the majority of officers share his determination for change, Sir Mark said the final say on dismissals comes from lawyers known as legally qualified chairs (LQCs).

Sir Mark said while their introduction was with the right intention, it has made the process slower, more biased and softer on standards, writing: “Hearings chaired by senior Met officers before LQCs were 38 per cent more likely to result in dismissal, but now hearings are more than twice as likely to dismiss black or ethnic-minority officers.”

Sir Mark said the current system is too slow,  he cannot appeal against “unduly lenient decisions” and more than 200 officers are currently suspended with full pay.

He added: “My own frustrations are shared by police chiefs across the country.

“We are accountable for our forces and we should be able to decide who is fit to serve in them. No one running a business would accept that they had to carry on employing people who had breached their standards.”

Racial justice groups wrote to Sir Mark at the end of July, urging him to  “deliver a more comprehensive plan of action”.

A review by Baroness Casey released in March this year recommended a major overhaul to the Met Police service, including getting rid of officers and staff who should not be serving, renaming the force, splitting up the Met and tougher vetting of new staff and officers.

Sir Mark said in July: “I haven’t shirked away from anything that Baroness Casey has said.

“I completely accept her diagnosis and that’s why we’re on a big reform plan.”

In that month, the Met announced plans to overhaul the force with a £366 million two-year scheme, dubbed A New Met for London.

The plan includes a recruitment campaign which Sir Mark says is encouraging diversity through advertisements that showcase ordinary frontline officers.

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