Met Police slow to learn lessons after Operation Midland
The Metropolitan Police Service has made slow progress in learning the lessons that arose from Operation Midland, says HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
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HMICFRS has today published a report that assesses the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) progress in learning from the mistakes identified in an independent report by retired High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques (the Henriques report), commissioned in 2016. The inspection also took into account the subsequent Independent Office for Police Conduct’s Operation Kentia investigation report into the conduct of five officers who worked on those cases (the Kentia report).
The inspection found that the MPS had initially not done enough to learn the lessons from the Henriques report. There were things the MPS could and should have done when it received the report on 31 October 2016. However, the force only properly began implementing the recommended changes much more recently.
HMICFRS was specifically asked to comment on the Metropolitan Police Service’s:
- decision-making in investigations (including the concept of ‘belief’ in complainants at the point of recording crime allegations and thereafter);
- use of search warrants;
- supervision and reviews of investigations; and
- provision of information to complainants, suspects, the media and other parties during criminal investigations.
The report includes recommendations for the force, which may be relevant to other police forces. There are also recommendations for the Home Office, the College of Policing and the Ministry of Justice.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said:
“The Henriques report made uncomfortable reading for the Met and the force has been slow to learn the lessons. It’s partly because the recommendations in the report could apply to other police forces too; the Met tried to progress them nationally, with limited success and without enough attention internally. I’m pleased to see that, since October 2019, the force has been taking bolder steps to learn the lessons.”
“Most of our recommendations are for changes to training material, policies and guidance. This is so that the lessons spelt out in the Henriques report become part of the police’s ‘corporate memory’, and the risks of another Operation Midland – although small – can be avoided in the years to come.”
“We were also asked to look at the concept of ‘belief’ which was so controversial in the Operation Midland case. We found that most officers understand what’s expected of them – that they record the crime allegation then investigate it impartially – but a small minority don’t. We’ve recommended further clarification of the Home Office’s crime counting rules.”
“The police have a responsibility to encourage victims to come forward – and that means creating a sense of public confidence that complaints will be taken seriously. Once an investigation is underway however, it is essential that the police approach it with an open mind.”
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- For further information, HMICFRS’s press office can be contacted from 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 020 3513 0600. HMICFRS’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217729.