Scotland Yard’s Line of Duty style-unit set up to investigate its own staff probes 625 domestic and sexual abuse allegations against Met Police officers
- Line of Duty style unit is investigating its own officers over serious allegations
- The new Domestic and Sexual Offences Unit currently probing 625 complaints
- It was set up in the wake of a series of huge scandals at the Metropolitan Police
Over 600 domestic and sex abuse allegations are being investigated by the Met into their own officers.
The new Domestic and Sexual Offences Unit – nicknamed the Daso team – has received 625 complaints about members of its force.
It has been likened to a real-life AC-12, the fictional investigators in BBC hit Line of Duty, but its focus is abusers.
The unit was set up in the wake of horrific scandals that have hit the Metropolitan Police, with included the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens.
Its worst cases involve rape and domestic abuse and are all committed by police officers or staff.
The team’s senior leader Det Supt Annette Clark said the team also had expertise was in safeguarding which made a difference to its work.
New Met Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said last month he would restore ‘trust’ in the force and ‘root out racists and misogynists’
Serving police officer Wayne Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in 2021
Dame Cressida Dick resigned earlier in the year after a clash with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
She said: ‘Particularly understanding domestic abuse and understanding sexual offences.
‘The impact that has on people and the victims.
‘We don’t want abusive officers in the organisation and we need to get rid of them.’
She told the BBC officers told her: ‘I want to do this. I want to come and work in professional standards to ensure we get out the bad cops.’
The raft of scandals under former Met commissioner Cressida Dick included officers taking photos of the bodies of Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, who were stabbed to death in Wembley
New Met Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said last month he would restore ‘trust’ in the force and ‘root out racists and misogynists’.
Britain’s top policeman pledged to get the ‘basics right’ as he seeks to turn around the stricken organisation, which is in special measures after failing to record thousands of crimes and a raft of officer misconduct scandals.
Sir Mark vowed to crack down on misconduct by officers and prevent them from making political statements at protests, such as taking the knee.
His predecessor Dame Cressida Dick resigned earlier in the year after a clash with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
The Met was shaken by a series of scandals and missteps, most shockingly the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer, but also a number of groups of officers found to have exchanged deeply offensive messages on social media.
Sir Mark said he wants to be able to show the public that progress has been made in key areas in 100 days, and to bring the force out of a form of special measures in 12 to 18 months.
He said: ‘We need to be ruthless at rooting out those who are corrupting the integrity of the organisation – the racists and the misogynists.
Scotland Yard’s failures laid bare: From ‘inadequate’ response to 999 calls to allowing 69,000 crimes to go unreported… watchdog raised ‘serious concerns’ over Met Police’s ability to protect the public
The troubling state of the Metropolitan Police was laid bare in a shocking report earlier this month, from a failure to record 69,000 crimes including stalking, domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour to an ‘inadequate’ response to 999 calls.
The police watchdog has raised ‘serious concerns’ about the performance of Britain’s biggest force after it failed in six out of nine areas of police work, with inspectors warning the blunders are ‘resulting in some offenders not being brought to justice’.
His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) demanded Scotland Yard make urgent improvements in a hard-hitting new report just days after Sir Mark Rowley took over as Commissioner.
Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said he was particularly concerned about how the Met treated victims of crime. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it’s got worse over the period I’ve been looking at the Met which is about five or six years. And since our last report in this area we think performance has declined since then.
‘One of the Met’s fundamental problems is it needs to get that lower level leadership right and have a low tolerance of poor standards. Inexperienced and new staff work better when they’re have strong guidance and that’s not happening.’
His report found crime recording ‘should be trustworthy’, but instead more than 69,100 offences are going unrecorded by the force each year, with victims of domestic violence or those suffering long-term abuse such as stalking, controlling and coercive behaviour or harassment being ignored.
The police watchdog raised ‘serious concerns’ about the performance of Britain’s biggest force after it failed in six out of nine areas of police work, with inspectors warning the blunders are ‘resulting in some offenders not being brought to justice’
Not all reports of rape are correctly recorded and in some cases it is taking more than three days for crimes to be logged leading to delays in rape investigations and victims receiving support.
Inspectors believe the force is turning a blind eye to many incidents of anti-social behaviour, with just one out of the 21 calls from victims it reviewed leading to a crime being logged.
The force was graded as ‘inadequate’ in the way it responds to the public, with call handlers unable to answer 999 calls quickly enough, failing to identify vulnerable or repeat victims and ‘missing opportunities to preserve evidence which may help investigations’.
Wayne Couzens, a former parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer, was given a full life term last year for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard. He is pictured while serving in the Met, left; and appearing in court from prison, right
The force currently answers 63.9% of 999 calls within 10 seconds, against a national target of 90%. It also sees 36.6% of calls to the non-emergency number 101 abandoned, compared with a goal of less than 10%.
Shoddy investigations by inexperienced detectives are also letting some criminals off the hook, the report found.
The report comes three months after the Met was put into special measures by the watchdog, which means it now faces external monitoring and must come up with an improvement plan.
Mr Parr said his report ‘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’.
He said: ‘The Met must get better at how it responds to the public – currently, its call handling teams are unable to answer calls quickly enough. In addition, it isn’t correctly documenting the decisions of victims to withdraw from an investigation or to accept an out-of-court disposal.
‘Recording victims’ wishes is vital to support the criminal justice process and to understand what is stopping victims from being able to complete the investigation process. The Met must improve in this area.’
Mr Parr found that investigations are ‘not always reviewed or overseen properly’ adding: ‘A lack of experience in responding to and investigating incidents of crime leads to delays for victims and makes successful criminal justice end results less likely.’
He warned: ‘The force doesn’t have enough capacity and capability in its frontline policing roles to meet demand.
‘It isn’t consistently supervising crime investigations to a good standard, resulting in some offenders not being brought to justice.
‘Until the force improves how it responds to incidents and increases the capability and supervision of its investigators, it will not be able to sustainably reduce crime.’
Officers are also failing to communicate with victims about why their case is being dropped or why cautions are being offered in lieu of more harsher punishments.
He suggested overloaded officers and staff are struggling with ‘unmanageable’ caseloads and being forced to work on their days off to get through their work.
The inspection also highlighted a high number of wanted suspects remain on the loose, with ‘the number of suspects remaining outstanding for long periods of time is growing’.
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