The commander of Britain’s largest police force apologized Wednesday after another of his officers was found guilty of sex offences, and admitted that between two and three officers face criminal charges in court every week.
The Metropolitan Police are fighting to restore their reputation after an officer on duty was jailed for life for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a young woman in south London in 2021.
London Force’s lenient audit procedures
Earlier this month, another officer confessed to 24 rapes and a series of other sexual offences, raising new questions about the London force’s lax vetting procedures.
In the latest case, police officer Hussain Shahab admitted on Tuesday to having sex with a 14-year-old girl and possessing indecent pictures of children.
The court was told that Shihab even served as a school liaison officer during his time on the force.
Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley called the case “appalling” and acknowledged that the force was dealing with “more than a few bad apples”.
The Met said 1,071 of its officers have been or are under investigation for domestic violence and violence against women and girls.
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“Most weeks two to three officers go to court,” he said, adding that the cases were a mixture of breach of trust, violence and violence against women and girls.
He apologized for the Shihab case, but warned that more cases may arise as he implements reforms to root out criminals and corrupt people in the Met’s ranks.
“We will pop up more,” he told the London Council’s Police and Crime Committee.
A fundamental problem in policing
Last week, activists threw 1,071 bad apples, representing the number of officers under investigation, in front of the Met’s New Scotland Yard headquarters.
“We’ve been told over and over it’s just one bad apple here and there, but in fact it’s a fundamental problem across all areas of policing,” said Ruth Davison, chairwoman of the sheltering charity that organized the protest.
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It called for any officer facing formal allegations to be suspended while the investigation is underway.
Wayne Cousins, who served in the Met’s armed unit to protect deputies and foreign diplomats, was jailed for life for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
Serial rapist David Carrick, who will be sentenced next month, served in the same unit.
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