LONDON: The Met Police has been placed into an advanced stage of monitoring, in what Home Secretary Priti Patel has described as “special measures”.
Recently the force has been hit by a series of scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard, the strip-search of Child Q and officers being caught exchanging offensive messages.
In February Dame Cressida Dick quit as commissioner. Ms Patel said she backed the move taken by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said in a statement: “We can confirm that we are now monitoring the Metropolitan Police Service through our Engage process, which provides additional scrutiny and support to help it make improvements.”
The Engage level of monitoring is used by HMICFRS when a force “is not succeeding in managing, mitigating or eradicating” a cause of concern.
It means the UK’s largest police force will be required to report to inspectors more regularly and could be asked to meet specific crime-fighting targets.
The Met could also receive support from the College of Policing, the National Police Chiefs Council or other external organisations.
In a statement the force said: “We recognise the cumulative impact of events and problems that the Met is dealing with.
“We understand the impact this has had on communities and we share their disappointment.
“We are determined to be a police service Londoners can be proud of. We are talking to the inspectorate about next steps.”
Other forces that have been the subject of the inspectorate’s Engage process include Greater Manchester Police in 2020 and Cleveland Constabulary in 2019.
Ms Patel said it was clear to her the Met Police was falling short in getting “the basics right”.
She said she backed the inspectorate’s action and called on both the force and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan “to take immediate action to begin addressing” the issues facing the Met.
The home secretary added: “The process to recruit a new commissioner is well under way and I have made clear that the successful candidate must demonstrate sustained improvements in the Met Police in order to regain public trust both in London and across the country.
“The new commissioner will need to deliver on the public’s priorities for the police – making our streets safer, bearing down on crime and bringing more criminals to justice, while continuing to recruit thousands of new officers to protect local communities.”
Mr Khan said the watchdog had raised very serious concerns and called for “root-and-branch” reforms to change the Met Police’s performance and culture.
He added: “A series of appalling scandals have not only exposed deep cultural problems but have damaged the confidence of Londoners in the capital’s police service.
“The decision by the HMIC to now move the Met into special measures has laid bare the substantial performance failings by the force.”