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Sadiq Khan says new Met commissioner must recognise ‘deep cultural problems’

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, makes a keynote speech on the need to rebuild public trust in policing in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, makes a keynote speech on the need to rebuild public trust in policing in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Sadiq Khan has pledged to block the appointment of a new Met commissioner unless they grasp the “true extent” of the organisation’s “deep cultural problems”.

In what he said was a “personal” mission to change the Met after a series of “appalling scandals”, the London Mayor invoked the Stephen Lawrence inquiry as a model for reform.

Speaking at City Hall in London’s Docklands, he called for the appointment of a “reforming commissioner”, four months after the resignation of the previous officer-holder, Dame Cressida Dick.

Public trust and confidence in policing
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said in a speech at City Hall that ‘London needs a reforming commissioner… I’ll accept nothing less’ (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Her departure opened a rift between Priti Patel and Mr Khan, who nevertheless said he was “hopeful” about working with the Home Secretary to select a new Met boss.

The mayor said: “I won’t support the appointment of a new commissioner unless they can demonstrate they understand the true extent of the cultural and organisation problems.

“London needs a reforming commissioner… I’ll accept nothing less.”

The Met has been rocked by a series of high-profile scandals in recent years, including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens, and racist texts exchanged by members of Charing Cross police station.

Noting the reforms made after the Stephen Lawrence inquiry in 1999, which concluded that the Met was “institutionally racist”, Mr Khan called for improved vetting of officers and changes to the misconduct process.

“This judgment was a landmark moment in the history of British race relations, triggering far-reaching reforms to policing, public services and criminal law,” he said.

“There’s no doubt that the police and criminal justice system have made significant and positive steps forward since then.

“But it’s become painfully clear that further reform on a far-reaching scale is now urgently needed.”

Admitting that rebuilding public trust would not “happen overnight”, Mr Khan said after his speech that reforming the police was a “personal” matter.

“It’s really important for the next commissioner, for the police to understand that trust or confidence… is integral to keeping our city safe,” he said.

“It’s personal for me because I experienced the bad old days of the police service in the 70s and 80s.

“I remember the impacts on people of colour, people like me, we heard stories about the police being abusive and misusing their powers.”