The lack of a plan to restore trust in policing is letting everyone down - Yvette Cooper

The report published by Louise Casey, commissioned by the Mayor of London, into standards and culture in the Metropolitan police service is thorough, forensic and truly damning. It finds that consent is broken, management of the force has failed and frontline policing - especially neighbourhood policing - has been deprioritised and degraded after a decade of austerity.

It finds that the Met is failing women and children, and that predatory and unacceptable behaviour has been allowed to flourish. It finds institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia.

Baroness Casey pays tribute to the work that police officers do and the bravery that they show every day, as we all should, because across the country we depend on the work that police officers do to keep us all safe - catching criminals, protecting the vulnerable and saving lives.

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That is what makes it all the more important that the highest standards are maintained and the confidence of those the police serve is sustained, otherwise communities and the vital work that police officers do are let down.

Yvette Cooper is the Shadow Home Secretary.  PIC: Hollie Adams/Getty ImagesYvette Cooper is the Shadow Home Secretary.  PIC: Hollie Adams/Getty Images
Yvette Cooper is the Shadow Home Secretary. PIC: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Some of the issues raised are particular to the Met because of its size, history and particular culture, where the Home Secretary and Mayor are jointly responsible for oversight and where the commissioner is responsible for delivering, but the report also raises serious wider issues for the Home Office.

The failure to root out officers who have been involved in domestic abuse or sexual assault also applies in other forces. The failure to tackle culture has gone wrong in other forces too. It is a disgrace that there are still not mandatory requirements on vetting and training, underpinned by law, and that misconduct systems are still too weak. I urge the Home Secretary to commit now that anyone under investigation for domestic abuse or sexual assault will be automatically suspended from their role as a police officer, and that anyone with any kind of history of domestic abuse or sexual assault will not be given any chance to become a police officer.

The Home Office approach more widely to standards is also failing. Six police forces are in so-called special measures, but it is still too easy for forces to ignore the recommendations from the inspectorate and the intervention processes are too weak.

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The report is damning about the decimation of frontline policing, but neighbourhood policing has been decimated everywhere, not just in the Met. The report is devastating on the lack of proper public protection arrangements for women and children who have been let down, but we know that across the country prosecutions for rape and domestic abuse have plummeted and serious cases have too often been dismissed.

The British policing model is precious. The Peel principles, which started in London – policing by consent – said “that the police are the public and that the public are the police”.

They are our guardians, not our guards, but that precious policing model is in peril. The Home Office and the Home Secretary are the custodians of that tradition, but the lack of any plan to restore trust, to stand up for policing or to turn things around is letting everyone down.

An abridged version of a speech delivered by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper during a debate on the Casey Review in the House of Commons.