The Guardian view on policing in crisis: the Met needs a superhead | Editorial

The Guardian view on policing in crisis: the Met needs a superhead | Editorial

Six forces including London’s are now in special measures. But the government’s actions too should be scrutinised

The daunting task awaiting the soon-to-be-appointed chief of the Metropolitan police just got harder. As of this week, the force has been placed under conditions known as “engage” – the term used by the police inspectorate (HMIC) for special measures. While the full details are not yet public, this means that the Met, along with five other forces including Greater Manchester, must accept external help and monitoring.

The indications are that the decision on the Met – by far the UK’s highest-profile force, with responsibility for counter-terrorism as well as policing the capital – was based on a buildup of serious problems and failures to fix them. These include ongoing issues with stop and search, with grounds for a quarter of stops not recorded; poor handling of victims; huge gaps in the recording of crime; and strip-searches carried out on children. At least eight further cases are being independently examined after the force apologised for its treatment of Child Q, who was searched at school while she had her period.

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