The Met Police has today (6th April 2023) reported on the progress of Operation Onyx, in which all police officers or staff investigated but not dismissed for sexual offences or domestic abuse cases over the last 10 years, are being reviewed.
The update shows that hundreds of officers are being reassessed after previously facing no action for accusations of sexual offending and domestic abuse.
The update highlights that:
- Operation Onyx has identified 689 previously completed cases where there may be new or missed lines of enquiry and 196 where officers or staff need urgent risk assessments or vetting reviews
- There has been a 70% increase in dismissals in the past six months, compared to the previous six month
- There has been a 95% increase in misconduct cases completed and now awaiting a gross misconduct hearing
- The number of suspensions for officers subject to the most serious allegations has more than doubled
We welcome the necessary work of Operation Onyx to improve standards at the Met and ensure that police perpetrators of violence against women and girls no longer offend with impunity. The police hold a particular position of power over the public, and it is therefore critical that officers and staff are subject to the highest standards of transparency and accountability. We also welcome recognition of the expertise of the specialist VAWG sector and representation of the sector on the oversight panel.
However, the attitudes expressed in the Met’s latest update are concerning, as they undermine the systemic and institutional factors that underpin police-perpetrated abuse, and reinforce the widely disputed narrative that this is an issue of ‘corruption’ that can be solved by rooting out individual ‘bad apples’.
Deniz Uğur, Deputy Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said:
“How the Met’s latest update represents the extent of police-perpetrated abuse and lack of consequences for officers is deeply frustrating, and exposes an organisation that even now is failing to grapple with the institutional and systemic nature of misogyny and racism in policing.
It is simply unacceptable that the Met Commissioner is still talking about an ‘honest majority’ of officers rooting out ‘rogue officers’ – reinforcing the myth that police-perpetrated abuse is just a case of a few bad apples, when an endless slew of evidence – most recently, Baroness Casey’s landmark review – have shown misogyny, racism and homophobia to be institutional and systemic in the Met.
There will be no trust and confidence in policing until these hard truths are acknowledged, and meaningful work is carried out to transform the institution’s culture. We will be looking to the government and police leaders for concrete actions which transform women and girls’ experiences of seeking safety and justice.
The government is rushing to recruit tens of thousands of new officers without first doing the transformative work needed by the institution; progressing the widely criticised Public Order Bill, which would hand the police ever more draconian powers; and threatening to take away our Human Rights Act, which is often the only tool for survivors to hold the police to account for failing them. We cannot afford to roll back our rights and accountability over an institution that remains in crisis.”
Sinead Geoghegan, Communications Manager, email@example.com 07960 744 502