Quite a few rotten apples have emerged from an independent report into the functioning of London's Metropolitan Police published on Tuesday, and despite situations of internal shortfalls and links to criminals within the force, there is no evidence of institutional corruption.
The police inspectorate, an independent supervisory body, painted a chaotic picture of London's police force in its investigation. In effect, it found that Britain's largest police force had hired staff with criminal connections, including more than a hundred people previously found guilty of crimes such as handling stolen goods, drink-driving, drug possession, assault and theft. Several were hired in the past two years.
It found that the so-called Met had lost track of more than 2,000 ID cards since their holders had left the force. This failing is particularly shocking given the details of the March 2021 rape and murder of Sarah Everard, who was abducted after a London police officer used his badge to gain her trust.
The report found that the Met was unaware of whether thousands of officers were even fit for their roles, and whether those in sensitive posts — such as child protection, major crime investigation and informant handling — had been vetted to a high-enough level of security.
It also detailed cases of missing evidence — including drugs, jewelry and money — improperly stowed weapons, and dire procedures for handling property.
However the investigative body stressed that there was no evidence of institutional corruption within the force, but said it was concerned by the poor practices.
The Met's apparent tolerance of these shortcomings suggests a degree of indifference to the risk of corruption, said the inspectorate's head, Matt Parr.
The investigation was commissioned in 2021, after an inquiry found that police had interfered in the investigations into the 1987 killing of private investigator Daniel Morgan. No one has been convicted for his murder, despite several investigations.
The latest report found that, even decades after this affair, current practices remained poor.
London's police service said in response that officials were deeply concerned at the findings and that it was reviewing its procedures. In a statement, it apologized to the family of Daniel Morgan and conceded that it needed to improve.
Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House said: I take counter-corruption work very seriously. It is well resourced and we have been praised for our work in this area. This will continue.
But, prompted by the Police Inspectorate, we will look at the structures and processes to make sure they are as effective as possible, House said.
Home Secretary Priti Patel called on the mayor of London and the new police commissioner to reverse these deficiencies. Met boss Cressida Dick stepped down in February, when London's mayor lost confidence in her ability to clean up the force.