‘Lack of confidence’ in making complaints against serving MPS officers, union claims

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers are “believed over civilian staff” when allegations of sexual abuse are made, a union claims.

Mar 21, 2023
By Paul Jacques
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said this has led to “a lack of confidence” among staff in making complaints against a serving police officer.

Speaking up against racist, sexist and homophobic language was also “not welcome”, it added.

The comments came in response to Baroness Casey’s report into the culture and standards of the MPS.

The PCS said it was “horrified by the findings” of the review which, despite reforms following the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, found “institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia” across the force.

The union represents more than 5,000 members working for the MPS in a variety of civilian jobs, including detention officers, those running custody cells, answering 999 calls and working to ensure documents are delivered to the Crown Prosecution Service.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We are horrified, but sadly not shocked, by the findings of Baroness Casey that, despite reforms following the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, the Metropolitan Police is found to be institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic.

“Speaking up against racist, sexist and homophobic language is not welcome in the Met – something PCS has consistently highlighted to managers.

“Their lack of action has led to a lack of confidence in making complaints against a serving police officer.

“We have had cases of allegations of sexual abuse by police officers against our members dismissed because the officer was believed over our civilian member.”

Mr Serwotka said austerity cuts to the MPS’s budget since 2010 were also a contributing factor to the situation, with a 21 per cent cut in civilian staff and a 50 per cent reduction in police community support officer numbers that have contributed towards the move away from local policing.

“We welcome the recognition in the report of the need to better engage with stakeholders like ourselves – something, again, we have long raised with managers,” Mr Serwotka said.

“The situation during Covid-19 was a good example of this. We had incidents of police officers crowding into work areas, removing tape that was meant to secure social distancing.

“When we complained, we were told the police officers didn’t know better, so no action was taken.

“It was only when we went to the Health and Safety Executive that the issue was resolved.

“We hope the Casey Report will lead to a new police force dedicated to serving the public and taking due care of its own workforce.”

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