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Whither or Wither the Met?

Whither or Wither the Met?

The latest official report confirms what most people knew, that the London Metropolitan Police force has a deeply ingrained culture that is misogynist, racist and homophobic.

We also have evidence that the same culture applies to some extent to police forces outside London too. Did you see my post about Nicola Bulley?

I appreciate many of our readers are outside the UK but these issues are likely to be present in police forces all over the world because of the changing needs of society and the nature of criminal activity.

These cultural norms won’t apply to some police officers of course, but they will need to keep a low profile and their mouths shut. That probably includes the majority of Women Police Officers.

While the top guys deplore the findings and promise reforms, there is little hope that they can change a culture that is so deeply ingrained. The newcomers to the police will quickly be imbued with the prevailing ways of thinking by talking to their established colleagues. It takes a very strong and rare character to hold himself above the influence of their peers with whom they work so closely. The younger ones have very little chance.

I remember meeting a distant relative at two family weddings a couple of years apart. At first one he was still a Police Cadet and came across as a charming lad. Two years later he had progressed into the main police force and had hardened into a typical uptight ‘copper’.

The other irreversible trend is the change from being a community service to an embattled fighting force. If you know of or have visited as I have, any of the modern Police Stations they are very different from the local ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ type of stations you might remember. They are like fortresses and have the atmosphere of wartime bunkers in which to escape from the outside world.

The justification for this would be the need to wage war on modern organised crime. The needs of the local community come a long way down the priority list and are conveniently forgotten. You may have heard of, or experienced, reporting a burglary to the police these days. You are very unlikely to even get a visit, let alone any chance of an investigation or the perpetrators being caught.

Bringing in more fresh policeman, and even giving them special training, will have little effect. It would be similar to pouring clean water into a bowl of dirty water. It will disappear into the murk and never get the water clean.

So what can be done?

My view, for what it is worth, is to reduce the power and money given to the main police forces and set-up parallel national police services to deal with specialist needs.

I would hope that is happening already in the area of cybercrime. Clearly the kind of people needed to solve and prevent this sort of crime are very different from the typical police constable intake.

A similar specialist service could be set-up for handling drug trafficking and associated crime. Our traditional structure of localised police constabularies may have been efficient in the past but is very unsuitable for handling national and international crime.

You may have seen my suggestion for a Women’s Police Service run by women for women. The hugely popular series of Happy Valley with Sarah Lancashire has shown us that Women Police Officers can live real lives outside their job and still bring their feminine power to bear in their work. I somehow doubt that most off-duty policemen can ever stop being a policeman and bringing their on-duty attitudes with them.

So my hope is that the many urgent needs of our society from a police force can be met by setting up more specialist services.

As resources are diverted towards them the big metropolitan forces will shrink and hopefully go back to providing a better local service to their communities.

We don’t really want to see the Met wither away. However, by reducing its resources and responsibilities it can change direction and get back to providing the local services we badly need.

Please let me know what you think. You can email me at


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