Baroness Casey of Blackstock will lead a review into culture and standards at the Metropolitan Police following the murder of Sarah Everard, it has been announced.
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said Baroness Casey would “ask the difficult questions needed for this thorough review”.
“We recognise the grave levels of public concern following the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard and other deeply troubling incidents and allegations. I have said that we know a precious bond has been broken,” she said.
“The Met has huge numbers of wonderfully professional officers and staff but I also recognise the behaviour of too many is of serious concern.”
Dick added that she wanted to create a force that was “compassionate, courageous, professional and always acting with integrity”.
Wayne Couzens, a Met Police officer, received a rare whole-life sentence earlier this month after falsely arresting Everard before kidnapping and killing her.
Since his sentencing, a freedom of information request revealed that hundreds of officers across UK forces were investigated for sharing offensive and often sexist content on social media.
Today a further investigation by the Times newspaper found that 2,000 police have been accused of sexual misconduct offences, including rape, in the last four years.
Baroness Casey, a crossbench peer, has a long history of supporting social welfare issues, having been head of the government’s Rough Sleepers’ Unit in 1999 where she led a strategy to reduce the number of people living on the streets by two thirds.
She left the civil service in 2017 to establish the Institute for Global Homelessness, and supported the government’s Covid-19 rough sleeping response in 2020.
She was also the UK’s first victims’ commissioner – leading an inspection into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham in 2015 – and delivered a review of community cohesion and extremism for then prime minister David Cameron, published in 2017.
She told Radio 4’s PM programme before her appointment was announced that she thought women’s safety was a societal issue that would not be solved by simply reforming the police.
She said: “You can’t just leave this to the police …. the idea that the police can work our way out of this is unfair on them. They need all of us to think about this.”
Responding to her appointment, Baroness Casey said she was grateful for the opportunity to lead the independent review.
“Trust is given to the police by our, the public’s, consent. So any acts that undermine that trust must be examined and fundamentally changed.
“This will no doubt be a difficult task but we owe it to the victims and families this has affected and the countless decent police officers this has brought into disrepute.”