Metropolitan Police staff making less use of own whistleblower service

Metropolitan Police staff making less use of own whistleblower service

There has been a sharp fall in use by Metropolitan Police staff in their own confidential telephone and online service for raising concerns about the conduct of colleagues. Reports to the Rightline system numbered 383 during the financial year 2017/18, 382 in 2018/19 and 360 in 2019/20 but dropped sharply to 296 in 2020/21.

Unmesh Desai, a Labour member of the Assembly’s police and crime committee and its former chair who obtained the figures, said: “The fall in use of the whistleblowing hotlines by Met Police staff is concerning and I am keen to get to the bottom of the factors behind this. The figures raise more questions than answers and I will be fully following up this up with the Met.”

The downward trend in reports to Rightline contrasts to some degree with Met staff use of the equivalent Police Integrity service provided by the independent charity Crimestoppers which Desai learned in December have remained generally steady over the same four-year period and rose to their highest level of 224 in 2020/21.

Sadiq Khan has told Desai in written replies that the Met is unable to confirm how many of the reports to either Rightline or Police Integrity led to misconduct investigations. He said: “Each contact is reviewed and developed as appropriate” and that “the information often adds to an overall picture of intelligence rather than a single contact leading to a misconduct finding”.

At last week’s Mayor’s Question Time the Mayor told Desai that the fall in Rightline use could be a result of other ways to make concerns known becoming available but added: “We need to completely transform the culture in the police service and be reassured that it’s been transformed.”

Two reviews into the culture and standards of the Met are underway, one led by Louise Casey and the other by the Met itself, following the conviction for the murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, who was a Met officer at the time of the offence. In his previous job Couzens was reportedly nicknamed “the rapist” because he made female colleagues feel uncomfortable.

Last week two senior Met officers were sacked for gross misconduct after being found to have breached the service’s standards of professional behaviour. A chief superintendent who worked in Ealing was judged to have misused a corporate credit card and behaved badly towards junior colleagues, including a pregnant woman, as well as improperly assisting the promotion of the other sacked officer, a chief inspector who was found to have misled fellow officers investigating expenses he had claimed.

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