Police Spies Out Of Lives welcomes the Casey Review and its confirmation of institutionalised sexism and misogyny in the Metropolitan police. It is important but it is not new. Women deceived into intimate relationships with undercover police have evidenced this institutionalised sexism for over a decade since bringing the first legal case in 2011. The Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing is yet to report but the evidence heard so far points to more than fifty years of sexist abuse of women by its covert officers.
Particularly relevant for those abused by spycops is the section in the Casey Review about elite, specialist firearms units (M019 and Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection). The report echoes what we know about the undercover police units, also considered elite:
‘Officers and staff in MO19 described an inner circle and clique of people in the Command who have worked together for years, are close friends or in intimate relationships with each other, who have the ear of the senior leadership team, or are well connected to senior officers in the Met.’
The culture & practices of these units sound all too familiar, especially the concept of colouring ‘outside the lines’ which Baroness Casey explains covers a catalogue of poor behaviours.
‘This makes for a disturbing read’ says a spokeswoman for Police Spies Out Of Lives. ‘We’ve been calling out institutionalised sexism in the Met for years and whilst we hope the Casey Review will be a catalyst for change, at the same time the government is legislating for the police to have more powers. New laws criminalising protest and limiting people’s right to assembly must be reviewed in light of the damning criticisms in this report. Police powers need checking, not expanding.’
The senior officers in the Met who are still contesting the term institutionalised must accept it. Just last month, in their latest apology to women abused by undercover police, they refused to acknowledge the sexism and misogyny is institutionalised. This position is clearly now untenable. There’s nowhere left for the Met to hide and we hope the Casey Review doesn’t prove to be another missed opportunity for real change that puts the safety of women and girls at the top of the agenda.