Image credit: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

The Metropolitan Police has apologised after an investigation from the Independent Office for Police Conduct discovered officers shared jokes about Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

It was also reported there was an antisemitic joke made with reference to “killing flies”.

The investigation uncovered evidence of bullying, misogyny and racist abuse amongst officers. Police were found to have made homophobic, Islamophobic and rape jokes.

Fourteen officers were investigated with two dismissed for gross misconduct. 

Campaign Against Antisemitism said it was “deeply disturbing” those who are supposed to protect British Jews and other communities could be discriminating against us. 

“The Met’s statement that it has taken action against those responsible cannot be mere words to make the problem go away, but rather must represent the start of a fundamental change in workplace culture,” a spokesman said in a statement.

A Met statement noted. “The conduct of a team of officers at Charing Cross police station in central London does not represent the values of the Metropolitan Police Service.

“We are deeply sorry to Londoners and everyone they have failed with their appalling conduct and acknowledge how this will damage the trust and confidence of many in the Met.”

The statement continued, “Since this reprehensible behaviour was uncovered in 2017 we have taken a series of measures to hold those responsible to account and stamp out unacceptable behaviour.”

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said that while officers predominantly worked in teams in Westminster, which have been disbanded, they are aware issues are not isolated or historic.

He added, “Our recommendations focus on the identified cultural issues and aim to ensure that those who work for the force feel safe with their colleagues and that communities feel safe with those whose job is to protect them. The MPS has to enjoy the trust and confidence of its own officers from diverse communities before it can hope to bridge the gap in trust and confidence with the communities it serves.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said that the public rightly expected the behaviour of the police to be “beyond reproach” and called for standards to be raised.

“Being a police officer is a privilege which has been abused by these sickening officers,” she explained. “It has been clear for some time that there are problems with the culture of the Metropolitan Police, which is why last year I tasked the Angiolini Inquiry and the police inspectorate with investigating these deeply concerning issues. I expect the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London to implement the recommendations of this report as soon as practically possible.”

Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, called on the Home Office to take responsibility over standards across the force. 

“While the IOPC has made important and welcome recommendations and some action has been taken this does not go far enough,” she said. “There needs to be action by police forces to ensure that training and vetting are improved, that a strong culture of respect is always maintained, and that the use of social media is reviewed and, where necessary, overhauled. 

“Police officers across the country work incredibly hard every day to keep communities safe and that is why it is so important that high standards are always maintained. 

“The Home Office must not stand back and leave it to individual forces. Ministers need to take responsibility for ensuring the highest standards are always met across policing and must ensure the College of Policing and police forces work together on the action needed.”

Mayor Sadiq Khan was “utterly disgusted” by the findings and called officers’ conduct “totally unacceptable”.

“Anyone found to be responsible for sexism, racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, antisemitism, bullying or harassment does not deserve to wear the Met uniform and must be rooted out,” he noted. “While I welcome the IOPC’s recommendations, more is required and I’ve been clear with the commissioner about the scale of change that’s needed to rebuild trust with Londoners.”

Baroness Casey has been appointed to lead an independent review into the Met’s culture and standards. 

Operation Hotton began in March 2018, the damning report came 11 months after the murder of Sarah Everard by Met firearms officer Wayne Couzens.