By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner says she has been “assured” behaviour in a damning report into standards at the Metropolitan Police is not mirrored in Notts.
Caroline Henry (Con) says the outcomes of the report, published by Dame Louise Casey earlier this month, are not reflective of Nottinghamshire Police.
The Casey Report came followed widespread concern over vetting and misconduct in the wake of the convictions of several Metropolitan Police officers.
This included former officers Wayne Couzens, who murdered Sarah Everard in March 2021, and serial rapist David Carrick, who was jailed for life after committing 48 separate rapes over 17 years.
Both officers passed police vetting processes despite concerns about their previous behaviour.
The Casey Report exposed further issues at the London force. It added discrimination issues were not tackled effectively, with the force deemed “institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic”.
Problems included widespread bullying, female officers and staff “routinely” facing sexism and misogyny, and “deep-seated homophobia”.
It said: “Time and time again, those complaining are not believed or supported. They are treated badly, or face counter-claims from those they have accused.
“In the absence of vigilance towards those who intend to abuse the office of constable, predatory and unacceptable behaviour has been allowed to flourish.
“There are too many places for people to hide. The integrity of the organisation remains vulnerable to threat.”
It has led to local councillors raising concerns over whether the report is also reflective of any issues within Nottinghamshire Police.
New figures show public confidence in the force has fallen year-on-year, from 55.4 per cent in March 2020 to 53 per cent at the end of 2022.
Mrs Henry’s office says this “forms part of a national trend” relating to wider issues with police perception across the country.
However, the force was recently rated as ‘good’ for its vetting processes, meeting 24 out of 28 new recommendations for chief constables to enforce.
And 32 serving or former police officers have been dismissed following misconduct hearings over the past two years.
A spokesperson said in January most were for “honesty and integrity matters”, adding the dismissals show it takes reports seriously.
Speaking in the Police and Crime Panel on Monday (March 27), Mrs Henry reassured councillors further about vetting work at the force.
“We’ve got more to do, but I’m absolutely assured from the Chief Constable [Kate Meynell],” she said.
“We’ve got a really strong professional standards department in Nottinghamshire.
“Our vetting is of a very high standard … and people can call out inappropriate behaviour through the complaints process.”
During the debate, Cllr David Ellis (Lab), the panel’s vice-chair, asked whether stress is impacting officers and if the “contract is broken” with the public.
He said: “Looking at the summary conclusions, there are a lot of implications for Nottinghamshire.
“This includes … systemic and fundamental problems leading to stress and pressure on officers.
“It concludes the ‘contract is broken’ [with the public] and I know a lot of that will apply specifically to the Met.
“But do you think these implications are applicable and are worth investigating in Nottinghamshire?”
Christine Goldstraw OBE, the independent chair of the panel, added: “Do you think it will lead to significant attrition in the police force here, [and] how are you tackling morale in the force as a consequence?”
In response, Mrs Henry said: “Police are under massive pressure, I’m not going to deny that.
“It should be a job you’re proud to tell people about, but there’s so much negativity around.
“However, morale at the force is up, we don’t struggle to recruit and Nottinghamshire is thought of as a good force.”