The Metropolitan Police (Met) Commissioner has revealed more than 500 officers are on restricted duties and hundreds more suspended as his purge on poor standards continues.
Sir Mark Rowley, who succeeded Dame Cressida Dick, has vowed to root out corrupt and criminal force members in a crusade for urgent change in the culture at the Met.
Sir Mark said he wants the ability to sack bad officers made much simpler and quicker.
The recent Casey Review said the Met is institutionally racist, misogynist and homophobic in the wake of a series of scandals, including the killing of Sarah Everard by serving officer, Wayne Couzens, and PC David Carrick being revealed as a serial rapist.
Sir Mark would not accept that the force is institutionally racist although he came to that conclusion with a ‘heavy heart’.
Asked how many Met officers are currently being investigated over sexual and domestic abuse claims, Sir Mark told journalist Emily Maitlis: “It’s many hundreds. I don’t have the number at the top of my head – but it’s many hundreds.”
He added: “We have well over 500 who are restricted and several hundred who are suspended. So, I’ve said we need to get rid of hundreds of people.
“If you look back over the last few years, the Met has been sacking 50 people a year. So clearly, the answer is going to be a lot more than that.
“So, it’s going to be hundreds of people we need to remove from the organisation who are a serious challenge at the same time as creating a stronger, healthier, better trained organisation that’s more resistant to this in the future.”
He told the podcast that the process in removing bad or corrupt officers was different than most other forms of employment.
The chief said the way issues of misconduct are dealt with are slower and more difficult. Officers who are accused of wrong doing have also got the protection of the officers’ union, the Police Federation.
Sir Mark added: “So, something that most people would have no reason to know is that police officers aren’t under normal employment law in most respects.
“They’re under something called police regulations, in terms of how performance is managed, or how misconduct is investigated and dealt with, it is more bureaucratic, slower, more difficult than normal employment law.
“And so actually these issues are significant, and I’ve asked the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to look at this, and the Mayor has asked them to look at it as well.”
In the News Agents podcast, co-hosted by BBC veteran Jon Sopel, he added: “I would much rather be talking about the trust of the public and tackling crime with them full stop.
“The fact I have to talk about standards and the fact alongside saying, I’ve got tens of thousands of fantastic men and women, I’ve got hundreds who shouldn’t be here, that’s professionally annoying, but that’s what I came back (to the force) to do.
“Because we have to sort that out for our credibility.
“And the vast majority of my colleagues, they’re up for that, which is why when we look at things like the Casey Report it was them who told that picture that they want tackled.”
The Met has faced a barrage of criticism in the wake of the Couzens conviction, not least because his offending could have been picked up much earlier that it was.
He had been reported for indecent exposure in the weeks leading up to the Everard killing but was not actioned. Couzens had already a reputation among other members of the force earning the nickname, the Rapist.