The Metropolitan Police has today reported on the progress of Operation Onyx – a review of the police officers and staff against whom the Met has heard concerning reports of domestic or sexual incidents. The cases of London police officers or staff investigated but not dismissed for sexual offences or domestic abuse over the last 10 years are now being reviewed.
A 70% increase in dismissals following report of abuse
There has been a 70% increase in dismissals as a result of such cases in the past six months, compared with the previous six months. There has also been a 95% increase in misconduct cases completed and now awaiting a gross misconduct hearing. Meanwhile, the number of suspensions for officers subject to the most serious allegations has more than doubled.
The Met Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, speaking about the crimes of David Carrick, a Met officer who raped a dozen women, stated: “This man abused women in the most disgusting manner. It is sickening. We’ve let women and girls down and indeed we’ve let Londoners down. The women who suffered and survived this violence have been unimaginably brave and courageous in coming forward. And I do understand also that this will lead to some women across London questioning whether they can trust the Met to keep them safe.”
Rowley continued: “We have failed. And I’m sorry. He should not have been a police officer. We haven’t applied the same sense of ruthlessness to guarding our own integrity that we routinely apply to confronting criminals.”
689 previously completed cases to be re-opened
Operation Onyx was announced following the arrest of David Carrick, dubbed ‘the monster in uniform’, who pleaded guilty to 85 serious offences.
Speaking about the Operation to re-open cases, Rowley stated: “[In March] We’ll have begun a full review of our national vetting process, we’ll have completed Operation Onyx, which is our review of the officers and staff whom we have concerning domestic or sexual incident reports against.”
Operation Onyx has identified 689 previously completed cases where there may be new or missed lines of enquiry and 196 where officers or staff need urgent risk assessments or vetting reviews.
Not just one ‘bad apple’
The Met’s update highlights the systemic and institutional factors that underpin police-perpetrated abuse and reinforce the widely disputed narrative that this is an issue of ‘corruption’ that can be solved by rooting out individual ‘bad apples’.
Deniz Uğur, Deputy Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said: “It is simply unacceptable that the Met Commissioner is still talking about an ‘honest majority’ of officers rooting out ‘rogue officers’ – reinforcing the myth that police-perpetrated abuse is just a case of a few bad apples, when an endless slew of evidence – most recently, Baroness Casey’s landmark review – have shown misogyny, racism and homophobia to be institutional and systemic in the Met.”
Uğur continued: “There will be no trust and confidence in policing until these hard truths are acknowledged, and meaningful work is carried out to transform the institution’s culture. We will be looking to the government and police leaders for concrete actions which transform women and girls’ experiences of seeking safety and justice.”
Rowley issued a public statement: “We will reform at speed. I promise that to Londoners.” Operation Onyx is ongoing.