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An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Deals with someone’s inability or failure to perform to a satisfactory level, but without breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour.
Focuses on putting an issue right and preventing it from happening again by encouraging those involved to reflect on their actions and learn. It is not a disciplinary process or a disciplinary outcome.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
Refers to lower-level misconduct or performance-related issues, which are dealt with in a proportionate and constructive manner.
This means doing what is appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the facts and the context in which the complaint has been raised, within the framework of legislation and guidance.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IOPC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IOPC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IOPC.
The organisation that is responsible for assessing how to deal with a complaint. For example – whether it can be handled locally or reaches the criteria for referral to the IOPC. The appropriate authority may be the chief officer of the police force or the PCC for the force. If a complaint investigation finds that someone has a case to answer for misconduct, the appropriate authority is responsible for arranging any misconduct proceedings. If you make a complaint, the appropriate authority for your case will contact you.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.
Policing bodies include police and crime commissioners, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
IOPC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
A complaint or recordable conduct matter that doesn’t need to be referred to the IOPC, but where the seriousness or circumstances justifies referral.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
A person is adversely affected if he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
This is where a manager deals with the way someone has behaved. It can include: showing the police officer or member of staff how their behaviour fell short of expectations set out in the Standards of Professional Behaviour; identifying expectations for future conduct; or addressing any underlying causes of misconduct.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A breach of standards of professional behaviour by police officers or staff so serious it could justify their dismissal.
A matter where no complaint has been received, but where there is an indication that a person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Quarter 1 covers 1 April - 30 June Quarter 2 covers 1 April - 30 September Quarter 3 covers 1 April - 31 December Quarter 4 covers the full financial year (1 April - 31 March).
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IOPC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into matters and produces a report that sets out and analyses the evidence. There are three types of investigations: local, directed and independent.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
List of officers and staff who have been dismissed from policing, or would have been if they had not retired or resigned.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour that would justify at least a written warning.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
This is a format where information is written in plain English and short sentences.
The IOPC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.

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Swyddfa Annibynnol Ymddygiad yr Heddlu - Inappropriate photographs taken at crime scene – Metropolitan Police Service, June 2020

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An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Deals with someone’s inability or failure to perform to a satisfactory level, but without breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour.
Focuses on putting an issue right and preventing it from happening again by encouraging those involved to reflect on their actions and learn. It is not a disciplinary process or a disciplinary outcome.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
Refers to lower-level misconduct or performance-related issues, which are dealt with in a proportionate and constructive manner.
This means doing what is appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the facts and the context in which the complaint has been raised, within the framework of legislation and guidance.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IOPC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IOPC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IOPC.
The organisation that is responsible for assessing how to deal with a complaint. For example – whether it can be handled locally or reaches the criteria for referral to the IOPC. The appropriate authority may be the chief officer of the police force or the PCC for the force. If a complaint investigation finds that someone has a case to answer for misconduct, the appropriate authority is responsible for arranging any misconduct proceedings. If you make a complaint, the appropriate authority for your case will contact you.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.
Policing bodies include police and crime commissioners, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
IOPC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
A complaint or recordable conduct matter that doesn’t need to be referred to the IOPC, but where the seriousness or circumstances justifies referral.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
A person is adversely affected if he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
This is where a manager deals with the way someone has behaved. It can include: showing the police officer or member of staff how their behaviour fell short of expectations set out in the Standards of Professional Behaviour; identifying expectations for future conduct; or addressing any underlying causes of misconduct.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A breach of standards of professional behaviour by police officers or staff so serious it could justify their dismissal.
A matter where no complaint has been received, but where there is an indication that a person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Quarter 1 covers 1 April - 30 June Quarter 2 covers 1 April - 30 September Quarter 3 covers 1 April - 31 December Quarter 4 covers the full financial year (1 April - 31 March).
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IOPC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into matters and produces a report that sets out and analyses the evidence. There are three types of investigations: local, directed and independent.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
List of officers and staff who have been dismissed from policing, or would have been if they had not retired or resigned.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour that would justify at least a written warning.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
This is a format where information is written in plain English and short sentences.
The IOPC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.

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Preface First

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Inappropriate photographs taken at crime scene – Metropolitan Police Service, June 2020

In June 2020, we conducted a criminal investigation into serious allegations of misconduct in a public office following a referral from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Our investigation related to the conduct of MPS officers who were placed as scene guards on the cordon of a homicide crime scene in Wembley. 

It was alleged that inappropriate photographs were taken and were subsequently shared with others. 

One officer took four photographs on his personal mobile phone while he was positioned on the cordon. In the early hours of the morning, he sent five photographs, one a duplicate, to another officer, who then used a mobile app to superimpose his face onto of one of the photographs which showed the murdered victims in the background.

One officer shared a photograph he had taken at the crime scene, which did not show the victims, with a WhatsApp group consisting of 42 colleagues. He subsequently showed the images to another officer. He also used degrading and sexist language to describe the victims at the crime scene he was protecting. The other officer also showed the images to another officer and shared photographs he took of the victims with a police colleague and three members of the public.

As part of this investigation, the two Metropolitan Police officers were arrested by our investigators and released pending further investigation.

During our investigation, we gathered and analysed a significant volume of evidence. Our investigators interviewed the police officers under criminal caution, examined mobile phone evidence and obtained statements from several witnesses.

Based on the evidence examined, we pursued other lines of inquiry which resulted in six additional MPS officers being advised they were under investigation for misconduct

We launched a separate investigation to examine the conduct of the officers who were allegedly either aware of, received or viewed the inappropriate photographs and failed to challenge or report them.

We uncovered further alleged misconduct breaches of the standards of professional behaviour for a small number of officers. These alleged breaches were not related to the murder investigation. In total, 13 officers were informed their conduct was under investigation for potential breaches of standards of professional behaviour.

Our primary investigation into the two officers concluded in October 2020. We waited for all associated proceedings and linked investigations to be finalised before publishing our findings. 

We concluded that the evidence indicated the subject officers may have acted in a way that justified disciplinary proceedings or committed a criminal offence.

We determined that the officers had breached standards of professional behaviour and had a case to answer for gross misconduct

We referred a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who authorised the charges on both officers. 

In November 2021, the officers formally entered their guilty pleas to the charge of misconduct in public office and were sentenced in December to serve two years and nine months. The judge ordered half of their sentence be served in prison.

On 24 November, the MPS held an accelerated gross misconduct hearing for both officers. One officer was dismissed without notice and the other officer would also have been dismissed had he not already resigned from the service. They will be added to the barred list, preventing them from future employment within the police service.

Our linked investigation concluded in March 2021.

We determined three officers had a case to answer for misconduct who were either aware of, received or viewed the inappropriate photographs taken at scene of the murder and failed to challenge or report them.

Misconduct meetings were held on 22 June 2022, where misconduct was proven and concluded that the three officers would receive written warnings. 

Separately, the MPS held a gross misconduct hearing for an additional police officer for his alleged use of racist language within a WhatsApp group. In December 2021, he was dismissed without notice. 

A summary of our conclusions was published in July 2022.

We carefully considered whether there were any learning opportunities arising from the investigation. We make learning recommendations to improve policing and public confidence in the police complaints system and prevent a recurrence of similar incidents.
 

An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Deals with someone’s inability or failure to perform to a satisfactory level, but without breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour.
Focuses on putting an issue right and preventing it from happening again by encouraging those involved to reflect on their actions and learn. It is not a disciplinary process or a disciplinary outcome.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
Refers to lower-level misconduct or performance-related issues, which are dealt with in a proportionate and constructive manner.
This means doing what is appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the facts and the context in which the complaint has been raised, within the framework of legislation and guidance.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IOPC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IOPC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IOPC.
The organisation that is responsible for assessing how to deal with a complaint. For example – whether it can be handled locally or reaches the criteria for referral to the IOPC. The appropriate authority may be the chief officer of the police force or the PCC for the force. If a complaint investigation finds that someone has a case to answer for misconduct, the appropriate authority is responsible for arranging any misconduct proceedings. If you make a complaint, the appropriate authority for your case will contact you.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.
Policing bodies include police and crime commissioners, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
IOPC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
A complaint or recordable conduct matter that doesn’t need to be referred to the IOPC, but where the seriousness or circumstances justifies referral.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
A person is adversely affected if he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
This is where a manager deals with the way someone has behaved. It can include: showing the police officer or member of staff how their behaviour fell short of expectations set out in the Standards of Professional Behaviour; identifying expectations for future conduct; or addressing any underlying causes of misconduct.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and an explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer involved.
A breach of standards of professional behaviour by police officers or staff so serious it could justify their dismissal.
A matter where no complaint has been received, but where there is an indication that a person serving with the police may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Quarter 1 covers 1 April - 30 June Quarter 2 covers 1 April - 30 September Quarter 3 covers 1 April - 31 December Quarter 4 covers the full financial year (1 April - 31 March).
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IOPC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into matters and produces a report that sets out and analyses the evidence. There are three types of investigations: local, directed and independent.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
List of officers and staff who have been dismissed from policing, or would have been if they had not retired or resigned.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour that would justify at least a written warning.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
This is a format where information is written in plain English and short sentences.
The IOPC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever way it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only happen in certain circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
You can request a review/appeal if you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.
IOPC reference
2020/138174 and 2020/139739
Date of recommendation
Thursday, 20 January, 2022
Date the force response is due
Thursday, 17 March, 2022
Recommendations

The IOPC recommends the Metropolitan Police Service take steps to ensure all officers within Forest Gate Police Station conform to the expectations of their behaviour under the Code of Ethics, whilst on and off duty, and are aware that failure to do so could severely damage the public’s confidence in policing. 

In this investigation, there is evidence that officers serving at Forest Gate Police Station have:

Displayed a lack of respect to individuals who had lost their lives by sharing inappropriate remarks and images in a WhatsApp group containing forty policing colleagues.

Made remarks in a WhatsApp group that can be perceived as derogatory and discriminatory towards women.

Shared images and remarks in a WhatsApp group which demonstrated a lack of compassion and empathy for two women who had recently lost their lives

Used racist language over WhatsApp, which was endorsed by a fellow officer.
 

Do you accept the recommendation?: 

Yes

Accepted action: 

The Metropolitan Police Service (“MPS”) has reviewed the information provided by the IOPC and accepts the recommendation. In relation to this specific recommendation, the North East Emergency Response Police Team Senior Leadership Team (NE ERPT SLT) and the NE Appropriate Authority have taken the following actions across the whole Basic Command Unit (BCU) and not just Forest Gate Police Station:-
•    Personal briefings have been held by the SLT and Appropriate Authority with all ERPTs across the BCU. 
•    Emails were sent to all ERPTs across the BCU reminding them of the Standards of Professional Behaviour and the minimum expectations required of them, including consequences for future failures and reminding them of the public perception and what they rightly expect from our officers.
•    A Police Federation presentation by the BCU based Police Federation Sergeant.
•    Clear guidance that whilst the use of social media and photos / videos has become a normal cultural practice, it is not acceptable when deployed in a professional capacity as a police officer. Clear messaging has been delivered that the only time photographs of scenes should be taken is for evidential purposes and that there are no exceptions to this. 
In addition to this, and as a direct result of this matter, in order to boost the community’s confidence in the MPS, Neighbourhood Policing has generated and carried out the following task; The introduction of a NE BCU Diversity Inclusion Group which was established two months ago by two members of the SLT. They developed the following plan which was shared with the Local Policing Commander and is aimed at promoting fairness, openness and learning to matters affecting staff and the public. The objective of the plan is to provide equality, equity and justice. In summary, the plan is:
•    To provide Inspector Single Point of Contacts across all internal strands, peer reviews from outside agencies.
•    To engage families of victims, address knife crime issues, focus on stop and search, academia contribution and National Police Chief Council recommendation led.
•    To address cultural bias, public health, youth education, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) mentoring.
•    Meet and engage the use of new technology to reach out wider taking time to listen.
•    Action Plan to include a harm assessment.
•    The Police Federation and Well Being Champions to be involved.

As part of the MPS Rebuilding Trust Plan, officers and staff from all Commands within the MPS were reminded in October 2021 and February 2022 of the MPS expectations in relation to our professional standards. In October 2021, all line managers were required to speak with officers and staff to reinforce the standards that must be upheld in regards to misuse of social media and messaging apps; predatory behaviours; and reinforcing a proactive duty to stop all inappropriate behaviour. In February 2022, the Commissioner wrote to all officers and staff setting out in clear and simple terms that there is no room in the MPS for any discrimination; prejudice; racism, homophobia or sexism, and that any type of hate or disrespect will not be tolerated. The MPS has also launched an internal communications campaign, ‘Not in my Met’, to reinforce the role that everyone in the MPS has to challenge and act on inappropriate behaviour and concerns.
 

The IOPC recommends the Metropolitan Police Service reviews whether supervisors and senior management at Forest Gate Police Station are taking personal responsibility to identify and eliminate patterns of inappropriate behaviour, whilst simultaneously promoting a safe and open culture which makes clear to officers and staff that they are dutybound to challenge and report behaviour that does not align with the Code of Ethics. 

The police Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Behaviour apply to all officers and members of staff serving with the Metropolitan Police Service. When adhering to the ‘Challenging and reporting improper behaviour’ Standard of Professional Behaviour, it is outlined supervisors must ensure staff carry out their professional duties correctly and any behaviour which falls below the Standards of Professional Behaviour must be challenged and addressed.
In this investigation, there is evidence that officers serving at Forest Gate Police Station shared inappropriate and discriminatory comments and images via WhatsApp, to friends and fellow officers relating to two victims of crime who had recently lost their lives. That officers opted to share such comments and images in a WhatsApp group containing forty policing peers and for their conduct to still go unchallenged, suggests an environment within Forest Gate Police Station where staff are either unwilling or afraid to challenge inappropriate conduct. This is a matter that needs to be appropriately remedied by supervisors and senior management. If such behaviour were to be left unaddressed, it would be hugely detrimental to the public’s confidence in policing.
 

Do you accept the recommendation?: 

Yes

Accepted action: 

The Metropolitan Police Service (“MPS”) has reviewed the information provided by the IOPC and accepts the recommendation. The MPS North East Area Senior Leadership Team (NE SLT) has completed the following actions across the Basic Command Unit (BCU) and not just at Forest Gate:
•    A personal meeting with the affected ERPT Inspector by a member of the SLT.
•    Multiple briefings with all ERPT Inspectors about their responsibility to drive Professional Standards across their respective teams.
•    A group debrief with the affected ERPT Sergeants and shared learning across all teams.
•    A team debrief with the affected team, reinforcing Professional Standards. (This was also used as a welfare chat without discussing the incident due to the ongoing IOPC investigation).
•    A reminder was given to all ERPT officers of the positive obligation they have to report any wrongdoing to a Supervisor in the first instance, but also other options if they feel more comfortable.
•    A Police Federation talk by the BCU based Federation Sergeant, Street Duties (New probationary officers joining the BCU)
When North East Area’s Emergency Response Policing Team (ERPT) Chief Inspectors attend the ‘Meet and Greet’ with new officers joining the BCU, they now specifically talk about social media and the risks associated with the use of it. The BCU based Police Federation Sergeant also attends to provide their perspective, dispel any myths and remind officers of the Code of Ethics (simple dos and don’ts). They also attend ERPT ‘parades’ (officers briefings prior to a tour of duty) to provide the same message. The position is clear around the professional standards set by the ERPT SLT and that expectations are high, so that they are under no illusion when they reach ERPT. NE SLT remain satisfied that the message has been understood as incidents or concerns are now raised to the appropriate person in a timely manner. NE SLT remain satisfied that officers are clear on the expectations set by not only the BCU but the wider organisation. This message will be reiterated as we recruit from a younger cohort who need to understand the difference between what is socially and professionally acceptable. NE SLT believe we now have mechanisms in place to achieve this. With regard to local investigation and safeguarding officers and staff, their respective SLT members have been delivering messages regarding the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Behaviour via email briefings to them and in person at the regular Detective Inspectors’ meetings. Particular emphasis has been placed on the current MPS guidance about the use of WhatsApp and other messaging platforms including Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act (CPIA) considerations. Supervisors who are part of messaging groups have been encouraged to treat the groups with the same considerations as if they were sending formal emails, making sure that values are respected. Staff have been reminded of their duty to challenge inappropriate behaviour, either personally or via Supervisors, and the provision of the Right Line where they can report incidents of wrongdoing or crime by police officers or police staff. In addition to the specific work undertaken at North Area Basic Command Unit the MPS Rebuilding Trust Plans set out 20 priorities to rebuild trust across three themes; raising standards, improving our culture and doing our job well. We have made significant progress on the priorities we set out including: In November 2021, we made an immediate investment of additional officers and staff into our Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) to strengthen our capability and to do more to prevent and identify the abuse of trust by our people. Our investment in this area has continued, and in January 2022 the MPS launched its new DASO Unit (Domestic Abuse and Sexual Offences Unit) which is a new dedicated team focused on the investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse. The DASO Unit, part of the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS), consists of a team of officers who are experienced in and receive specialist training in matters linked to sexual misconduct, and who provide a robust response to both public complaints and internal reports of police perpetrated domestic abuse and sexual misconduct. Our internal reviews of current and historic allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse are being finalised and an insights report is being developed to capture any identified organisational learning. In December 2021, we launched Operation Signa – an internal programme led by the MPS Network of Women to ensure our people actively intervene and challenge inappropriate behaviours. Operation Signa is based on months of research and is linked into the National Police Chief Council Sexual Harassment Working Group. It provides a recording a tool for people to report sexual harassment, sexism and other demeaning behaviours. In addition, the Commissioner set out a number of new commitments in a letter to the Mayor of London during February 2022. This includes a commitment that the Deputy Commissioner will personally brief all 733 recently promoted sergeants, reiterating our expectations of them in their key leadership role to promote and maintain the highest of standards. As part of our work to rebuild trust the Commissioner also appointed Baroness Casey of Blackstock to lead an independent review into the MPS culture and professional standards. This review began earlier this year and we expect that it will take between 9-12 months to complete. The terms of reference for this review include:

•    To examine the extent to which there is sufficient clarity (and consistency) on the standards of behaviour expected by officers, staff and volunteers working in the MPS, and consider whether current expectations are appropriate.
•    To examine adherence to those standards across the MPS and what changes might be required to ensure the high standards expected are routinely followed.
•    To consider what changes are required to the MPS internal culture to build high levels of public trust in the service, and the highest levels of employee engagement.

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