New powers to root out rogue officers after Met scandals must be made law without delay, ministers told

L - R Wayne Couzens, Adam Provan and David Carrick. (Metropolitan Police handout)
L - R Wayne Couzens, Adam Provan and David Carrick. (Metropolitan Police handout)

Ministers were today urged to avoid any delay in implementing new powers to make it easier to root out rogue police officers, amid calls for the reforms to go even further.

Policing minister Chris Philp said the measures — including allowing chief constables rather than lawyers to chair misconduct proceedings and the automatic dismissal of those convicted of a serious offence — would enable forces to remove unsuitable officers.

He said other changes would include requiring officers to pass vetting throughout their careers, with dismissal for those who fail and an accelerated system for dealing with police who have left the force to escape sanction.

But Mayor Sadiq Khan and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the shake-up had already been delayed too long, and did not go far enough.

In response, Mr Philp said that the reforms, which follow demands from Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley and other police chiefs for an overhaul of disciplinary regulations, were “hugely tightening” the system to ensure “zero tolerance for misconduct”.

He added that the “tiny minority who misbehave, who do terrible things, need to be rooted out and these reforms are designed to make sure that happens.

“The whole process for gross misconduct and poor performance is going to be sped up.” Sir Mark said he was “grateful to the Government for recognising the need for substantial change” after his warnings about the difficulty of removing about 500 officers who he has concluded are unfit to be in the police.

The Mayor urged ministers to ensure that legislative time is available for the new measures at the first opportunity after the summer recess. He said: “The Government first promised proposals back in May and it shouldn’t have taken so long for these plans to come forward.”

Mr Khan also called for “automatic dismissal for those convicted of the most serious crimes and making it far easier for police pensions to be forfeited”.

Labour’s Ms Cooper said officers under investigation for rape and domestic violence should also be suspended pending investigation.

Mina Smallman, whose daughters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were murdered in a London park, said she was “really pleased” about the reforms. Two Met officers were jailed after sharing photos of the sisters’ bodies.

Ms Smallman said it was essential that police chiefs were able “to go back over the cases that have been missed, people who have slipped through the cracks”.

A series of scandals in the Met, including the multiple rapes committed by officers David Carrick and Adam Provan, have exposed how chances to remove rogue police have been missed.