Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

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Fishnut
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Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by Fishnut » Tue Jan 04, 2022 11:03 pm

I've just finished watching Four Lives, about the murders of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kövári, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor by Stephen Port. It's led me to multitask and read about the police investigations and the inquiry into how monumentally sh.t they were. This is a good piece by the Telegraph that, even after watching 3 hours of that sh.t investigation, still had me gasping at the level of incompetence and disrespect shown to the men and their families. For example,
The tone was set from the first contact with the first victim’s family. Thomas Walgate tells how he was watching England take on Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup when a female police constable arrived at his home in Hull.

‘She told me, “Your brother Anthony has been found dead in London.” I told her I didn’t have a brother called Anthony, so I thought it must be a mistake and she’d come to the wrong person.

‘But then she said, “Oh, it must be your son then.”’
and
Incredible as it may seem, a family liaison officer assigned to the Köváris never got in touch with them. The first time any of the Barking and Dagenham borough officers investigating Gabriel’s death spoke to the family was when they called Adam to ask if Gabriel had already been buried, as they wanted to conduct further toxicology tests.
and
Jack’s eldest sister Donna was on the phone to her parents, Jeannette and Colin, when the police arrived to give them the terrible news, and heard what happened next. ‘They came to the door and said, “Are you Jack Taylor’s mum and dad?” They said they were and the police officer said, “He’s dead.” It was as blunt as that. Mum just screamed.’
Despite Port giving conflicting statements and admitting that Anthony had died in his flat,
Police checked to see if he had previous convictions (he didn’t), but did not check an intelligence database on which they would have discovered that Port had been accused of assaulting another man two weeks earlier.

Ironically, the police did check Anthony’s name against the intelligence database, in what his family believe was another sign of the skewed attitude of detectives.
They thought that Gabriel was 'just' a homeless person and didn't bother to investigate his death.

Despite the 'suicide note' of Daniel's saying that he was responsible for Gabriel's death, the police never bothered to check that they even knew each other (they didn't).
In truth, the two had never met, and a simple check of their mobile-phone records would have shown they were not in the same place when Gabriel died, but police failed to look. Nor did they carry out DNA tests on the unexplained bed sheet found with Daniel, which would have led them to Port.
And despite Jack being found in the same churchyard as Gabriel and Daniel, and having died of the same overdose of GHB as them, the police didn't think his death was in any way suspicious,
The family was not even assigned a family liaison officer as he was not regarded as a victim.

‘They asked about his sexuality right from the beginning and brushed it off as a druggie who had taken an overdose,’ says Donna, who is 12 years Jack’s senior. ‘They are discriminating against people in so many different ways.’

If a family liaison officer had been allocated to the Taylors, they might have discovered that Jack was not someone who was remotely likely to score drugs from a stranger and then overdose in a graveyard, as the police assumed.
The police assumed that they were all gay druggies who overdosed and left it at that. It took pressure from the families - including Jack's sisters doing their own investigation - to get the police to take their deaths seriously.
Donna says she and Jenny passed the information on to the police and the next day Port was arrested. ‘The police did tell us that if it hadn’t been for us there would have been more deaths,’ she says. She quickly adds that she is not looking for credit, but uses it as another exhibit in the families’ case for why some officers should lose their jobs.
Yet jurors in the inquest into the murders last month were not asked to consider if prejudice, homophobia or discrimination contributed to the deaths. Despite situations like this,
Officers denied Ricky Waumsley, Whitworth’s live-in partner of four years, access to his supposed “suicide note”. They dismissed him “in every single way”, Waumsley said, “because we were a gay, unmarried couple”.

When Whitworth’s father, Adam, and stepmother, Mandy, asked police what the drug GHB was, they were told to “Ask, Ricky, they know about this stuff,” he said. Waumsley had never heard of GHB. By “they”, the officer said under questioning, she meant as Whitworth’s partner, not as a gay man.
The Met's lawyers argued that,
the claim of prejudice should not be an issue left to the jury to decide. The mistakes by individual officers could be explained by “forgetfulness, indolence, lack of training, stress, overwork or inadequate supervision and management”. Lack of resources, and management structure failings, were valid explanations, rather than prejudice.
Which is pretty damning even if that was the extent of their failings. And it's not. As John Pape, a friend of Gabriel's, pointed out,
the inquest had exposed underfunding as a factor, and officers were “overstretched”. “But, consequently, they ‘prioritised’ in ways that exposed their prejudice. It led to incompetence and unequal treatment.”
Pape was also fighting, along with Anthony's and Jack's families to get the police to properly investigate Gabriel's death, but was unable to get any traction. It seems the family of Daniel had reluctantly accepted that his death was a suicide and focused on their grief.

The police used every excuse they could to not do their job. They were gay druggies, they were homeless, dying is just what happens, why waste time checking what we already know? The lack of care about them carried through to their interactions with the families - the callousness with which the police communicated with them is horrifying. If they'd only taken Anthony's death seriously then the other three men would still be alive. But they didn't. And the worst part is that no-one has faced any consequences. From the Telegraph article,
In the six years since the last of the murders, 17 police officers have been investigated by the watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), of whom nine were found to have performance failings.

None of them has been disciplined, and at least five have been promoted.
There are calls for a proper inquiry into homophobia in the Met but even if it happens, and even if institutional homophobia is found, it won't make any difference. The Macpherson report has made little to no difference in the almost 25 years since its publication so there's no reason to think that a report on homophobia will have any greater impact. It's all so f.cking depressing.

Happy 2022.
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Gfamily
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Re: Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by Gfamily » Tue Jan 04, 2022 11:51 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Tue Jan 04, 2022 11:03 pm
It's all so f.cking depressing.
QFT.
Thanks Fishnut
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
Meta? I'd say so!

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jimbob
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Re: Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by jimbob » Wed Jan 05, 2022 8:31 am

Don't forget the findings of the report into the murder of Daniel Morgan.

An organisation that is institutionally corrupt needs urgent change. It isn't "a litany of mistakes" (Patel) BECAUSE IT WAS INTENTIONAL

I suppose Dame Cressida Dick does exemplify the organisation she leads.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by IvanV » Wed Jan 05, 2022 9:11 am

Worboys, the minicab rapist, got away with many of his early rapes despite the victims reporting them. His MO was to invite his victims for a drink and spike their drinks. When they presented at the police station, they were often initially treated as drunk and disorderly, or OD-ing, not as victims. Forensic opportunities, such as to detect the spiking drug in their system, with a narrow window of opportunity, were thus lost. Worboys was eventually interviewed when it was finally noticed that several complaints had been made. But his house and car were not searched, which would have unearthed his rape kit, as found much later. In police reports of those early interviews, he is described as a "good guy".

To be fair, although we can set out quite a large number of quite appalling anecdotes, it is difficult for us as external observers to set this in a broader context. Is it a broad culture of crapness, or a few areas of crapness? Obviously the Met would like us to believe the latter.The Met clearly also prosecutes a large number of people, many of them for serious offences. Indeed, we have a relatively high prison population in this country, by European standards, so they must be doing that. Maybe this prosecution record gives us confidence that much of it is going OK?

Though there are also concerns that a lot of people in prison are vulnerable people with learning difficulties. So the other side of that is that maybe many people in prison were wrongly prosecuted, the Jill Dando case acting as a nice example of what can go wrong when a person with learning difficulties is arrested due to some circumstantial evidence. The Criminal Cases Review Commission requires very high standards of evidence of an error to reopen a case.

In my view, we are not going to make serious progress on this issue until both the CCRC and PCA have their powers and resources beefed up, and become far more sceptical of the people they check up on. Initially anyway. Hopefully we then move towards a better equilibrium in which they have less to do. I don't have much confidence in a Tory government doing very much about that.

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Re: Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by jimbob » Wed Jan 05, 2022 9:53 am

IvanV wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 9:11 am
Worboys, the minicab rapist, got away with many of his early rapes despite the victims reporting them. His MO was to invite his victims for a drink and spike their drinks. When they presented at the police station, they were often initially treated as drunk and disorderly, or OD-ing, not as victims. Forensic opportunities, such as to detect the spiking drug in their system, with a narrow window of opportunity, were thus lost. Worboys was eventually interviewed when it was finally noticed that several complaints had been made. But his house and car were not searched, which would have unearthed his rape kit, as found much later. In police reports of those early interviews, he is described as a "good guy".

To be fair, although we can set out quite a large number of quite appalling anecdotes, it is difficult for us as external observers to set this in a broader context. Is it a broad culture of crapness, or a few areas of crapness? Obviously the Met would like us to believe the latter.The Met clearly also prosecutes a large number of people, many of them for serious offences. Indeed, we have a relatively high prison population in this country, by European standards, so they must be doing that. Maybe this prosecution record gives us confidence that much of it is going OK?

Though there are also concerns that a lot of people in prison are vulnerable people with learning difficulties. So the other side of that is that maybe many people in prison were wrongly prosecuted, the Jill Dando case acting as a nice example of what can go wrong when a person with learning difficulties is arrested due to some circumstantial evidence. The Criminal Cases Review Commission requires very high standards of evidence of an error to reopen a case.

In my view, we are not going to make serious progress on this issue until both the CCRC and PCA have their powers and resources beefed up, and become far more sceptical of the people they check up on. Initially anyway. Hopefully we then move towards a better equilibrium in which they have less to do. I don't have much confidence in a Tory government doing very much about that.

The red paragraph.

We know the answer to that. It's systemic. Multiple reports have shown huge areas of problems - including institutional corruption that has meant that an axe murder of a private investigator has gone unpunished. That is not just crapness, that is enabling criminals to thrive in the organisation.

A murder, let's remember, that had links to the press corruption of the police via News International.

Do we actually know that the McPherson report recommendations have been acted on? It's all very well having an public inquiry but when a problem has been identified, it's good to actually check that the corrective actions have worked.

Also don't forget the death if Ian Tomlinson. Again killed by a police officer who never should have passed vetting.

At the very least the Met's recruitment policy is not fit for purpose.

This thread on ISF is interesting - especially the later pages

http://www.internationalskeptics.com/fo ... 377&page=2

The OP is a retired Scottish police officer who had started out defending the police in various incidents (I think at the start of the Ian Tomlinson case, but changed his mind completely as more evidence came out)
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by purplehaze » Wed Jan 05, 2022 10:11 am

Excellent post Fishnut.

I would add that safeguarding practise is seriously lacking within the Met police. Safeguarding is put in place not only to protect the vulnerable in society but also to protect those who deal with vulnerable people. Be of no doubt that Port targeted the vulnerable; those who escaped were either lucky or he couldn't be bothered.

What enrages me about this case, and many others, is that some of those who failed the families dismally, went on to get promoted.

How is that possible? It seems to be a working environment in which safeguarding is dismissed from the oft.

No lessons are being learnt in this environment. Is it deliberate?

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Re: Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:03 am

I doubt it's just the Met either. They merely have the disadvantage of working in the country's biggest and most important city.
You can shove your climate crisis up your arse!

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Re: Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by wilsontown » Wed Jan 05, 2022 12:32 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:03 am
I doubt it's just the Met either. They merely have the disadvantage of working in the country's biggest and most important city.
Indeed - ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the South Yorkshire Police.
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Re: Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by IvanV » Wed Jan 05, 2022 12:34 pm

jimbob wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 9:53 am
IvanV wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 9:11 am
To be fair, although we can set out quite a large number of quite appalling anecdotes, it is difficult for us as external observers to set this in a broader context. Is it a broad culture of crapness, or a few areas of crapness? Obviously the Met would like us to believe the latter.The Met clearly also prosecutes a large number of people, many of them for serious offences. Indeed, we have a relatively high prison population in this country, by European standards, so they must be doing that. Maybe this prosecution record gives us confidence that much of it is going OK?
The red paragraph.

We know the answer to that. It's systemic.
This thread on ISF is interesting - especially the later pages

http://www.internationalskeptics.com/fo ... 377&page=2
Being systemic is not the same as saying that all or most officers are bent/incompetent/brutal etc, or even that a high proportion are. Rather it is systemic because the system fails to prevent or sanction the proportion of bent/incompetent/brutal officers, whatever that proportion might be. There is a culture of supporting each other, that comes from the top and all around, and those who don't support other officers, short of the most egregious conduct, are shunned. I agree there is a large problem that needs addressing. I just don't believe that a majority of police officers are bent/incompetent/brutal, except to the extent the system forces them to turn blind eyes to what they see going on that they don't agree with.

There is a link to an article in the Guardian by a barrister who reports getting a repeat offender off a charge of resisting arrest, because it is the arresting officers who beat him up. She is lucky that the offender's sister took photos at the scene, and the repeat offender is unusually intelligent and managed to get the officers to say useful things for his defence in the interview. Though of course no action is ever taken against those officers. Probably the magistrate would say that there is a large gap between sufficient doubt that he committed the offence and sufficient evidence the officers beat him up.

What she says is that you do come across many police officers who treat their job as a vocation and try to do it fairly and competently. But these are not the ones who figure in the trials. Their actions and statements do not need to be tested in cross-examination.

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Re: Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by noggins » Wed Jan 05, 2022 1:23 pm

wilsontown wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 12:32 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:03 am
I doubt it's just the Met either. They merely have the disadvantage of working in the country's biggest and most important city.
Indeed - ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the South Yorkshire Police.
And the West Midlands

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Re: Is there anything the Met Police are good at?

Post by jimbob » Wed Jan 05, 2022 1:51 pm

noggins wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 1:23 pm
wilsontown wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 12:32 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:03 am
I doubt it's just the Met either. They merely have the disadvantage of working in the country's biggest and most important city.
Indeed - ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the South Yorkshire Police.
And the West Midlands
And the Greater Manchester Police

https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk ... -of-crime/

As well as well-documented corruption in the Kent Police at the start of the century... I haven't seen any updates on that, which itself is a bit concerning
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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