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'They're failing women': Met Police 'isn't always' recording domestic abuse or stalking

Officers are also failing to record reasonable grounds for carrying out a quarter of stop and searches, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services said in a damning report

A file image of Met Police officers. Image: Unsplash / CGP Grey

The Met Police is not always recording domestic abuse or stalking cases, a damning report has found.

Officers are also failing to record reasonable grounds for carrying out a quarter of stop and searches, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said.

The report calls into question the force’s ability to investigate crime and support vulnerable people and adds to a series of crises facing new commissioner Mark Rowley. The Met was placed into special measures in June over its handling of the murder of Sarah Everard and the strip-search of a schoolgirl in Hackney.

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It is also currently being investigated by the IOPC over the fatal shooting by armed police of Chris Kaba.

On the failure to always record domestic abuse or behavioural crimes such as controlling or coercive behaviour, stalking and harassment, the report stated: “The force needs to improve its recording of violent crime. Many victims of these crimes are victims of long-term abuse. It is important to record these crimes and meet the needs of victims, including safeguarding them.”

While the force has improved how it records rape offences, the watchdog discovered some cases where reports took more than three days.

Reclaim These Streets co-founder Jamie Klingler, who took the Met to court over its handling of a planned vigil for Sarah Everard, said the Met was “absolutely failing women”.

“I am almost out of words. It just feels so hopeless, it’s just about getting the paperwork off of their desk,” she said.

“It’s an avalanche of failure and we are at the bottom of the heap.”

Matt Parr, His Majesty’s inspector of constabulary, said: “For a considerable time, I have had growing concerns about several aspects of the Met’s performance.

He added: “Our latest report describes many successes and some examples of innovation. However, it also raises serious concerns about how the force responds to the public and the level of understanding the force has about its demand and its workforce.”

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The Met was graded inadequate at responding to the public by HMICFRS. Workers dealing with vulnerable victims often had unmanageable workloads resulting in overtime and rest days being used to try and keep up, HMICFRS added.

However, the report did find that the Met was good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.

Parr said: “We did find some positives in our inspection. The Met is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and has developed innovative techniques to improve how it collects evidence and identifies offenders, such as its new forensic technique for detecting the presence of blood on dark clothing and its new rapid testing kit for drink spiking.

“Given our findings, we are now monitoring the Met under our Engage process, which provides additional scrutiny and support, and I will continue to closely monitor the force’s progress.”

Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge, said the findings should “shock us all”.

Davison added: “Refuge knows that these are crimes that are not prosecuted at a rate consistent with their estimated prevalence. Without proper recording by police officers, how are survivors supposed to access justice and protection through the courts and secure their safety?

“It’s clear from the conclusions of the report – as well as recent trials into the misconduct of serving officers – that the Met Police needs to take immediate and robust action to ensure it sees violence against women and girls as the serious crime that it is. This must start with the basics; recording crimes properly and consistently, ensuring mandatory training for officers to take a more trauma-informed approach with survivors and rooting out misogyny within its ranks.

“The new Commissioner has a real chance to prove to women and girls that he is serious about protecting them – I urge him to make an unequivocal commitment to immediate and measurable progress on tackling misogyny wherever he sees it across the force.”

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