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Burglary ‘too serious’ for police not to attend – new Met chief

New Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has begun setting out his plans to reform Britain’s largest police force (Carl de Souza/PA)
New Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has begun setting out his plans to reform Britain’s largest police force (Carl de Souza/PA)

Burglary is “too serious an intrusion” not to have a police officer attend, the new head of Britain’s biggest police force has said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it is unacceptable that the proportion of reported burglaries attended by an officer from the force has fallen to 50%.

“We’re never going to turn up to every single crime, and the public understand that, but something as severe as burglary needs a proper policing response. It’s too serious an intrusion not to have somebody turn up,” he said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley at Millbank Studios, central London (James Manning/PA)

“We recently got as low as 50% on that, and that’s not acceptable.

“So that’s a first step in terms of getting more reliable, alongside putting more officers in communities, which people will see over the next year or so.”

Sir Mark began setting out his plans to reform the force in radio interviews on Tuesday, having started his new job during the official mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II.

His predecessor Dame Cressida Dick resigned earlier in the year after a clash with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Dame Cressida Dick in police uniform, standing next to Sadiq Khan who is wearing a black suit, white shirt and black tie.
Sir Mark’s predecessor Dame Cressida Dick resigned earlier in the year following a clash with London Mayor Sadiq Khan (PA)

Sir Mark said he wants to be able to show the public that progress has been made in key areas in 100 days, and to bring the force out of a form of special measures in 12 to 18 months.

The former Met assistant commissioner rejoined his old force at one of the most turbulent times in its history.

The Met has been shaken by a series of scandals and missteps, most shockingly the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer, but also a number of groups of officers found to have exchanged deeply offensive messages on social media.

Sir Mark said the Metropolitan Police needs to be “ruthless” in rooting out officers whose behaviour lets the force down.

He told the Today programme: “We need to be ruthless at rooting out those who are corrupting the integrity of the organisation – the racists and the misogynists.”

A head and shoulders shot of Sarah Everard smiling.
The Met was rocked by the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving armed officer (Family handout/CPS/PA)

Later, speaking on LBC, he called for zero tolerance of officers who “misbehave”, saying the force had been “too forgiving” of such instances in the past.

However, he said officers should not take the knee – a symbolic gesture against racism.

He told the BBC: “We should not show any allegiance to causes, however noble or not.”

Sir Mark Rowley said he would be happy for his daughters and granddaughters to walk the streets of London at night.

He told LBC radio host Nick Ferrari that police can offer a focus on male offenders to make the streets safer for women and girls.

“Most of all, the thing that police can bring to this is (a) very clear focus on the men who predate on women and children.

“There are many men in the city, sadly, who are stalkers, they’re rapists, they’re involved in domestic violence.

“The thing we bring to solving this problem, alongside other agencies who offer more supportive role to victims, the thing we bring most of all, is the ability to identify and target those dangerous individuals.”

Asked about the number of youth murders in London, Sir Mark said he wants to get the annual number of all murders in London below 100.