Met Police Chief Mark Rowley: It’s wrong that I can’t cut off 100 rogue officers

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Cotland Yard is having to employ around 100 officers who cannot be trusted to deal with the public in a “completely mad” situation because of a lack of powers to remove them, the Met commissioner has warned.

Sir Mark Rowley said it was ridiculous and perverse that his force had to pay officers when it was unable to allow them to engage with the people they were supposed to serve.

He added that each of the officers had heavily restricted duties to keep them away from the public and that the Met was investigating whether “new handles” could be used to remove them.

But he said “under the conventional approaches we can’t”, as he renewed his call for the Home Office to give police chiefs stronger powers to remove rogue or unfit officers from their ranks.

Sir Mark’s comments follow a series of scandals, including the kidnapping, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by Met officer Wayne Couzens, to the racist and misogynistic behavior of some officers at Charing Cross police station. These cases and others have shone a spotlight on criminal activity and misconduct within the Met and led to a strong bid by Sir Mark, who took over as commissioner in September from ousted predecessor Dame Cressida Dick, to clean up the force.

He used an interview on Thursday with the BBC’s Radio 4 Today program to warn that his efforts were being thwarted by insufficient powers.

“I have about 100 officers in the organization who have very restrictive conditions on them because frankly we don’t trust them to talk to members of the public,” he said. “It is absolutely crazy that I have to hire people like police officers who cannot be trusted to have contact with the public.

“It’s ridiculous. We look to see if we’ve got some new legal levers, but under the conventional approaches we can’t. It’s perverse.” Sir Mark said the Met was “more assertive and creative in our use of existing powers” and was also “encouraged by the Home Secretary and the Home Office’s enthusiasm to look again at rules to give us powers to move faster against officers we should ‘does not have’. Sir Mark has previously warned that as well as around 500 officers who are the subject of misconduct investigations, the force has another 3,000 it cannot fully deploy because they are either injured, suffering from mental health problems or underperforming.

He said this meant around 10 per cent of the force’s police were unavailable for full duty and this was another issue that needed to be addressed because of its impact on its ability to serve the public.

A damning report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services published earlier this month into policing and misconduct raised further concerns about standards within the Met, which was one of nine forces used to collate the findings.

The watchdog, which had already put the Met in special measures because of its poor performance, found that hundreds of officers who should have failed checks had been allowed to strike.

It said they included one convicted of domestic abuse and another accused of sexual assault, while others with links to organized crime or with serious allegations against them were allowed to work without adequate supervision and safeguards.

The watchdog also highlighted widespread misogynistic attitudes within forces and highlighted an example of officers carrying out “booty patrols” where attractive women were stopped unjustifiably for checks.

Sir Mark’s comments came as the Met announced its success in breaking up a huge online scam factory where criminals posed as legitimate banks such as

Barclays, HSBC and others to steal millions of pounds from more than 200,000 potential victims in the UK.

More than 70,000 phone numbers identified by investigators will be contacted today or tomorrow, asking owners to visit the Met’s website for more information and to report fraud losses.

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