The Home Secretary is refusing to break up the Metropolitan Police, saying she expects wholesale reforms to be carried out instead and will hold the force and the Mayor of London to account.

Suella Braverman said Baroness Casey’s review, which found institutional racism, sexism and homophobia, “makes for very concerning reading” and sets out a “long road to recovery” for the Met.

But she rejected calls to abolish the force and replace it with a police service focussed solely on law and order in London.

Instead, she said there needs to be “a wide-ranging and profound programme of reform”.

Reforming the Met will be the responsibility of Sir Mark Rowley, who took up the post as the force’s Commissioner in September 2022, but the Mayor of London is responsible for holding him to account, as well as agreeing the policing budget and responsibilities.

It is uncertain how long Sir Mark will be given to carry out reforms but one expert said he would need two or three years to put them in place, and that it would take much longer for the culture to be changed. Some measures, however, could be done rapidly, including the weeding out of “bad officers”.

The Casey Review recommends that the “Met and the Mayor of London should commission independent progress reviews after two years, and again after five years, so that Londoners can have trust and confidence that reform is taking place”.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has already said he will be “unflinching” in holding the Commissioner to account, adding that the Met is on a “path of far-reaching systematic and cultural reform”.

The 16 recommendations from Baroness Louise Casey’s review should be implemented “quickly and in full”, he said. Her report was commissioned following the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer.

Ms Braverman told the House of Commons: “I will be holding the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London to account by measuring progress.

“We have taken steps to ensure that forces are tackling weaknesses in their vetting systems. I have listened to Sir Mark and his colleagues, and the Home Office is reviewing the police dismissals process to ensure that officers who fall short of expected standards can be quickly dismissed.”

Labour said it was concerned by what it called Ms Braverman’s “dangerously complacent” response to the Casey Review. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Astonishingly there is no new action set out in her response, simply words saying that the Met must change. This is a continuation of the hands-off Home Office response that Baroness Casey criticises in her report.”

Sir Mark, who accepted the review’s findings but stopped short of admitting the racism, misogyny or homophobia were “institutional”, said he was passionate about reform.

He told the BBC on Tuesday: “I’m not going to sit in front of Londoners and say, ‘We’ll get this sorted overnight’. That would lack credibility.

“But month by month, quarter by quarter, they will see progress because we are absolutely determined to deal with the issues identified here.”

Shabnam Chaudhri, who was a detective superintendent in the Met where she worked for 30 years, told i that as part of reforming the force whistleblowers need to be protected from intimidation and vilification.

“You ensure that the people that you employ at managerial level are going to be far more courageous in the way that they deal with whistleblowers,” she said.

“You’ve got to make sure that those who are leaders are also provided with the right support… and whistleblowers are also being given opportunities to be able to speak out without being vilified, having ranks close around them or subjected to intimidation.”

Dr Peter Neyroud, a former police officer who is now an expert in criminal justice reform at the University of Cambridge, warned it would be easy to lose the momentum for change in the wake of the Casey Review.

“I am sure that there will be agreement with Casey’s recommendations but there is an election coming and that is never an easy period to sustain a consistent focus on something as complex as the reforms here,” he said.

“Frontline officers and staff need to buy into the changes required – I am sure the vast majority will do so, but they are also overworked, underpaid and feel under-valued, both by their leaders and by the public they serve.”

Rick Muir, director of the independent think tank the Police Foundation, said the Met has two to three years to show the organisation can be reinvented although a culture change will take far longer.

“But I think some of the basic things can be done. They need to very quickly try to get rid of bad police officers.”

Mr Muir suggested more external figures could be brought into the Met to help bring about change.

“Because one of the problems that just comes up time and time again in the report is this insularity within policing, institutional defensiveness… And I think they need to be much more open to external scrutiny.

“I think possibly the Commissioner could have a group of external advisors that you might want to talk to on a regular basis about… It comes back to this thing about having diverse mindsets [as] one of the best ways to transform the organisation.”

Some doubted whether the Casey Review will instigate the change needed to restore the public’s trust in the Met.

“This report is not the first of its kind, so sadly there’s no guarantee that the issues it’s highlighted will be addressed,” said Siobhán Crawford, senior associate solicitor in the abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp.

“I represent survivors who have been sexually abused by police officers, who approach me after they’ve reported their cases to the police, only for them to be brushed over. They wait so long for justice – evidence is lost, DNA evidence isn’t tested, and survivors are interrogated so forcefully that they often simply give up.

“Officers need better pay, caseloads that are actually manageable, and more training. A review like this and those before it should never be needed again.”

Dr John Coxhead, professor of Policing Innovation and Learning at the University of East London, warned the Met: “Moving the furniture around now will not be enough. This is a cultural issue, and renaming structures won’t hide the deep issues that need to be confronted.

“In my view the London police service needs to get better at learning through listening to its public and its own staff, who seem to face a form of cultural toxicity described in the Casey Report. There will be good people working in the organisation, but maybe in spite of, rather than because of, the culture.”

Diana Fawcett, chief executive at Victim Support said the Met must commit to “long term independent oversight and scrutiny”.

“Victims and the public will lose faith in the police altogether if they continue to be failed.”

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