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Government ‘committed’ to HS2 after watchdog rates project as ‘unachievable’ | Politics News

HS2 has been rated as “unachievable” as part of an annual report from a government watchdog.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) gave the first two phases of the rail link – from London to Birmingham, and from Birmingham to Crewe, a “red” rating, saying the whole plan may need to be “reassessed”. Both legs have faced a series of delays.

The project has been hit by ever-increasing costs – with estimates rising from £33bn in 2010 to at least £71bn.

The initial opening date of 2026 has fallen back to 2033, with the line possibly not reaching Manchester until 2040.

The government announced further delays to HS2 earlier this year in an effort to “balance the books” after inflation hit the cost of materials.

But analysis exclusively leaked to Sky News showed the two-year pause in works would end up being three-and-a-half years, and was likely to cost the taxpayer at least £366m.

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The government announced earlier this year the construction of the HS2 will be delayed by two more years due to

In its report, the IPA said: “Successful delivery of [HS2] appears to be unachievable.”

The watchdog added there were “major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable”.

As a result, it said the project “may need re-scoping and/or its overall viability reassessed”.

This latest criticism comes in the same month that HS2 Ltd’s chief executive, Mark Thurston, announced he would be resigning from his post in September.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Spades are already in the ground on HS2, with 350 construction sites, over £20bn invested to date and supporting over 28,500 jobs.

“We remain committed to delivering HS2 in the most cost-effective way for taxpayers.

“HS2 will bring transformational benefits for generations to come, improving connections and helping grow the economy.”

Jeremy Clarkson’s Sun column about Meghan was sexist, press watchdog rules | UK News

A Jeremy Clarkson column about Prince Harry and Meghan in The Sun newspaper was sexist, a press watchdog has ruled.

The column – headlined “One day, Harold the glove puppet will tell the truth about A Woman Talking B*******” – contained a “pejorative and prejudicial reference” to the sex of the Duchess of Sussex, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) said.

Clarkson, 63, wrote in December last year: “I hate her. Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.”

He told how he lies awake at night “dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her” – claiming “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”.

“But what makes me despair,” he added, “is that younger people, especially girls, think she’s pretty cool.”

The article, published on 16 December 2022, saw IPSO deluged by more than 25,000 complaints from the public – the highest number it has ever received.

It was a “serious breach” of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice – a set of rules newspaper and magazines who are members of IPSO have agreed to follow – the watchdog said on Friday.

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However, separate complaints that the article was inaccurate, harassed the Duchess and discriminated against her on the grounds of her race were not upheld.

IPSO chairman, Lord Faulks, said of the ruling: “We found that the imagery employed by the columnist in this article was humiliating and degrading toward the Duchess.”

 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle The Duchess of Sussex 
Prince Harry and Meghan. Pic: AP

The Sun “failed to meet the high editorial standards” expected by IPSO, he added.

Further explaining why the column was sexist, the IPSO complaints committee ruled: “Specifically: the writer’s claim that the Duchess exercised power via her sexual hold over her husband which, in the view of the Committee, was a reference to stereotypes about women using their sexuality to gain power.

“[It] also implied that it was the Duchess’ sexuality – rather than any other attribute or accomplishment – which was the source of her power.

“To argue that a woman is in a position of influence due to ‘vivid bedroom promises’, to compare the hatred of an individual to other women only, and to reference a fictional scene of public humiliation given to a sexually manipulative woman, read as a whole, amounted to a breach of Clause 12 (i).”

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The ruling added: “The Editors’ Code of Practice protects the right of commentators to challenge, to shock, be satirical and entertain, but it states that the press must avoid discriminatory references towards an individual.

“By holding publications to account, we promote the standards of journalism set out in the Editors’ Code of Practice.

“We will take action where these standards are not met, such as in this article which contained pejorative and prejudicial language in an article discussing a woman.”

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Prince Harry’s phone hacking trial explained

‘I’ve rather put my foot in it’

Clarkson issued a grovelling response at the time after his own daughter, Emily, was among thousands who condemned his comments.

He tweeted: “Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it. In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people.

“I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.”

The Sun also apologised after a huge backlash, saying it “regretted” publishing the column last December. It also removed it from its website and archives.

However, the Sussexes snubbed the apologies and suggested Clarkson has a track record of spreading “hate rhetoric”.

Now the tabloid has been ordered to inform its readers of the findings by publishing a summary written by IPSO on the same page where the column usually appears.

It must also be flagged on the front page of The Sun and on the homepage of its website.

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Special programme: Harry in Court

IPSO investigated two specific complaints made by the charity The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights, and the WILDE Foundation, a platform created to help women, girls, and victims and survivors of abuse.

Both organisations said they were affected by breaches of the code.

In a statement, The Sun said: “After Jeremy Clarkson’s column was published in December, both The Sun and Jeremy Clarkson apologised. We said we regretted publishing the article and removed it from our website.

“The Sun accepts that with free expression comes responsibility.

“Half of The Sun’s readers are women and we have a very long and proud history of campaigning for women, which has changed the lives of many.

“The Sun is committed to its work campaigning to strengthen legislation on domestic abuse, helping to provide beds in refuges and empowering survivors of abuse to seek help. Our most recent campaign, Baby Bank on Us, is raising money to help women struggling with the alarming costs of living and a newborn baby.

“Ipso has ruled that The Sun published a column about the Duchess of Sussex which contained a pejorative and prejudicial reference to the duchess’s sex. The committee did not uphold separate elements of the complaint that the article was inaccurate, harassed the Duchess of Sussex, and included discriminatory references to her on the ground of race.

“The Sun is today publishing the summary of Ipso’s findings.”

The ruling comes as Prince Harry takes on the British press in a series of court battles.

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The Duke appeared in court weeks after he and the Duchess said they were involved in a “near catastrophic” car chase in New York involving paparazzi.

Anti-strikes law would ‘strip workers of unfair dismissal protections’, watchdog warns | Politics News

The anti-strikes bill could be in breach of international law and strip workers of unfair dismissal protections, the equalities watchdog has warned.

The government is facing renewed calls to drop the “nasty” Minimum Service Legislation (MSL) bill following a scathing report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The EHRC said it is “concerned that an employee would lose automatic unfair dismissal protection” if they fail to comply with a notice ordering them to work on days of industrial action.

Politics live:
Labour calls for childcare reform details; another HS2 setback

The organisation warned staff could also be sacked if their trade union has failed to take reasonable steps to ensure minimum service levels are in place during a strike, as “they would not know” before participating in a walkout if that is the case or not.

Paul Nowak, general secretary of the TUC, said: “The EHRC is right to warn that this draconian legislation could see striking workers losing a vital right – protection from unfair dismissal.

“The Conservatives are trying to keep people in the dark about the true nature of this legislation. But make no mistake – this bill is undemocratic, unworkable and almost certainly illegal.”

Mr Nowak accused the government of launching a “brazen attack” on workers’ rights which will likely “poison industrial relations and exacerbate disputes rather than help resolve them”.

“It’s time for ministers to protect the fundamental right to strike and drop this nasty bill,” he said.

What does the anti-strikes bill mean?

Under the government’s draft Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, the right to strike would be restricted by imposing “minimum service levels”.

That means if the bill becomes law, some trade union members would be required to continue working during a strike.

The bill does not set out what the minimum service levels would be for each industry, but they could include maintaining core service provision in emergency services and ensuring key transport, travel and trade routes don’t completely shut down on strike days.

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What does the anti-strikes bill propose?

The government has argued the legislation is necessary to ensure minimum safety levels at a time of widespread industrial action.

But the plans have drawn backlash from unions and opposition MPs.

Critics say, thanks to the proposed changes, bosses would be legally able to fire employees who ignore a “work notice” ordering them to work on days of industrial action.

The EHRC contrasted this with similar laws in Italy, where “legislation provides that an individual cannot be dismissed for failing to comply with a Minimum Service Level agreement”.

It said the bill in its current form raises “several human rights considerations”, specifically in relation to Article 4 (Prohibition of Slavery and Forced Labour), Article 11 (Freedom of Assembly and Association) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The report also criticised ministers for failing to properly consult on the legislation with worker and employer organisations.

“It is not clear why this more collaborative approach – as practised in some states in Europe – was not pursued in the current bill,” the watchdog said.

Read More:
Anti-strike bill: The arguments and what it means for workers

The intervention comes days after the Joint Committee on Human Rights criticised the bill “for failing to meet human rights obligations”.

Last week, a House of Lords report also expressed concerns the bill would give ministers too much power while providing virtually no detail on what counts as minimum service.

There was a further backlash when the Regulatory Policy Committee, another independent watchdog, ruled the government’s impact assessment of the legislation was “not fit for purpose” in a damning report last month.

And in January, 50 civil liberty groups – including Oxfam and Human Rights Watch – warned the bill would allow “a further significant and unjustified intrusion by the state into the freedom of association and assembly”.

Sky News has contacted the government for comment.

British police forces ‘shot through’ with Chinese surveillance cameras, watchdog warns | UK News

Britain should be more concerned about Chinese-made CCTV cameras on the streets than spy balloons 60,000ft above ground, a watchdog has warned.

New findings from the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner (OBSCC) said British police forces are “shot through” with Chinese cameras, drones and other surveillance equipment.

The watchdog’s survey also suggested bodies using the equipment were “generally aware that there are security and ethical concerns about the companies supplying their kit”.

There have been growing concerns in recent days about the threat of Chinese spy balloons after the US shot down four objects flying in its airspace this month, prompting the UK to review its security measures.

Washington declared one of the aircraft as Chinese spyware.

There are now security fears over police using Chinese-made drones.

All police forces across England and Wales, as well as the British Transport Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Ministry of Defence, and the National Crime Agency (NCA), were asked in June last year about their use and governance of CCTV and other surveillance cameras.

The watchdog said several of the respondents claimed their camera systems use equipment which there had been security or ethical concerns about.

Fraser Sampson, of the OBSCC, said: “It is abundantly clear from this detailed analysis of the survey results that the police estate in the UK is shot through with Chinese surveillance cameras.

“It is also clear that the forces deploying this equipment are generally aware that there are security and ethical concerns about the companies that supply their kit.”

He added: “There has been a lot in the news in recent days about how concerned we should be about Chinese spy balloons 60,000 feet up in the sky.

“I do not understand why we are not at least as concerned about the Chinese cameras six feet above our head in the street and elsewhere…”

Mr Sampson said it should be considered whether it is appropriate for bodies to use equipment made by companies with “such serious questions hanging over them”.

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Mystery surrounds flying objects

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The OBSCC said 39 of the 47 bodies and forces contacted for the survey responded, which was “disappointing”.

Around 18 said their external camera systems use equipment that had security or ethical concerns, while at least 24 gave the same response when asked about internal camera systems.

A National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) spokesman said: “Following government guidance where governmental departments have been instructed to cease the deployment of such equipment around sensitive sites, UK Policing will conduct necessary reviews to ensure national security standards are met.

“Model contractual terms and conditions are widely used across policing, and these include specific provisions for equality, diversity and human rights. These are imposed on contracted suppliers and would be used to enforce any breach of contract.”

The Telegraph also reported that more than two-thirds of drones operated by police forces in the UK are made by a Chinese firm that is blacklisted in the US.

A Home Office source told the newspaper on Tuesday that Home Secretary Suella Braverman had “concerns” about the use of Chinese technology in the UK and would want police to make sure all their data is “secure and not vulnerable to any interference by a foreign state”.

Press watchdog IPSO launches investigation into Jeremy Clarkson Meghan article | UK News

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) is launching an investigation into Jeremy Clarkson’s article in The Sun about the Duchess of Sussex.

The UK’s newspaper and magazine industry regulator said it had received more than 25,100 complaints about the piece, in which he said he “hated” the Duchess of Sussex.

Clarkson wrote in his column, published in December as the couple shared their headline-grabbing Netflix documentary series, that he was “dreaming of the day when [Meghan] is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her”.

But his remarks sparked a huge backlash, with Clarkson’s daughter Emily, as well as many others, speaking out against him.

The column became the most complained about ever and was removed from The Sun’s website at his request, with the publisher apologising.

Clarkson also addressed some of the backlash towards the imagery used in his piece, which he said was a reference to a scene in the television series Game of Thrones.

He wrote: “Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it. In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game Of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people. I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.”

In a later statement, the presenter revealed he had emailed the couple to apologise over his piece.

However, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex dismissed the apology saying it was part of “a series of articles shared in hate”.

They also said that Clarkson “wrote solely to Prince Harry”.

It comes after it was reported that Amazon Prime Video is likely to cut ties with the TV host following the backlash over his column.

The streaming service has worked with Clarkson since 2015, with the TV star hosting hit shows The Grand Tour and Clarkson’s Farm.

Series two of Clarkson’s Farm will launch as planned in February, while the next series of The Grand Tour is still set to launch later in 2023.

However, as first reported by US entertainment site Variety, it is understood Amazon could stop working with the star beyond seasons of the shows that have already been commissioned.

Clarkson, who also presents ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, admitted in second statement that both broadcasters were “incandescent” over his column.

UK ‘chronically’ underspending on climate change adaptation, warns watchdog | Climate News

The risks of heatwaves, droughts, flooding and failing critical infrastructure are increasing in the UK due to global warming, but the government has been too slow in acting to limit them, according to a new report from its climate change watchdog.

Adapting to higher temperatures and the more intense heatwaves and storms they are predicted to bring, requires investment of around £10bn a year, says the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

Spending on everything from flood defences, to more heat-resilient homes, to improved drinking water supplies is falling well short of what is needed to insulate the UK from climate impacts, according to the report.

“It is no secret that the UK is now experiencing a range of damaging consequences of climate change, but adaptation in the UK remains chronically underfunded and overlooked. This must change,” said Baroness Brown, chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee.

When it comes to reducing the risk of climate change itself through its net zero strategy, the government has been clear in defining priorities, says the report.

The same approach has to be used in adapting to the warming that is inevitable due to global warming that’s already under way, it warns.

Key recommendations include improving drainage in urban areas to cope with flooding from extreme rainfall; making more use of “nature based solutions” to reduce the risk of flooding from the sea and rivers; and increasing the ability of the public water system to cope with drought, including investment in new reservoirs and “interconnectors” between water companies.

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The Daily Climate Show

The committee also singled out the need to “climate-proof” infrastructure like roads and railways and the need to retrofit homes to cope with excess heat.

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The Office for National Statistics recently estimated 2,800 excess deaths were linked to heatwaves last summer.

Some actions require direct investment, particularly things like flood defences or tree planting to reduce flood risk, the report finds.

However, many others can be funded by changing planned investments to factor in things like increased temperatures or flood risk, when it comes to improving water supplies, or building new roads, bridges or railways.

“Integrating climate risk into economic and financial decision-making across society is essential for urgently needed investments in our national climate resilience to materialise,” said Ben Caldecott, a co-author of the report.

A failure to invest now, will ultimately cost more, the report argues. It cites a Bank of England study from last year that found climate risks would become a “persistent drag” on banks’ and insurers’ profits of around 10-15% a year.

Westminster Accounts: Chair of ethics watchdog says MPs should exercise more ‘due diligence’ over donations | Politics News

The chair of parliament’s ethics watchdog has said MPs should be forced to exercise more “due diligence” over donations, in response to Sky News’ Westminster Accounts project.

Sky News and Tortoise Media have launched a new database of MPs’ second jobs and donations – the first time they have all been collated in one place.

MPs have been accused of failing to provide “sufficient” transparency after our investigation struggled to uncover basic details about who is behind major donations.

Among the top donors to individual politicians are companies where little detail was provided in the MPs’ declarations about who they are, who is in charge and where they are based.

Search for your MP using the Westminster Accounts tool

Speaking to Sky’s deputy political editor Sam Coates, Lord Pickles said MPs should have to know and declare a named individual as the originator of a donation, even if the funds come from a company.

“It wouldn’t take very much to just to sort this out,” said Lord Pickles, who is the chair of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

More on Westminster Accounts

The Westminster Accounts

“There is a degree of due diligence that members of Parliament are not required currently to do under the rules, but basically should be, which is pretty straightforward, which is ‘why is this organisation giving me money and do they expect anything in return’?”

Lord Pickles said it “wouldn’t be unreasonable to put together some guidelines for MPs to be able to answer some just very basic questions”.

“It doesn’t mean to say they have to do a line-by-line scrutiny of the company or employ expensive accountants to do so, but to be able to answer just one or two questions like who has given this money and who is the controlling thought behind that company and why they’re doing it.

“And just to simply say this money is to be used for this, there are no restrictions. Or this is to conduct research in a particular area. This isn’t actually going to put an enormous burden on members of parliament, and I think it will remove an awful lot of worry.”

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MPs lacking ‘sufficient’ transparency

Sky’s Westminster Accounts investigation has discovered that nobody had heard of a company donating hundreds of thousands to Labour MPs on a visit to its registered address, while the office of another company that donates to 24 Tory MPs was shut and apparently out of action.

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When asked for comment, some of the MPs concerned were reluctant to discuss the details until after the stories were published.

Lord Pickles said there “isn’t enough transparency” and it “wouldn’t take a big effort” to improve this.

Praising the Westminster Accounts project he said: “I’ve loved what you’ve been doing.

“I’ve played around with the toolkit that you’ve provided. I would have thought from even the casual observer that you’ve not demonstrated or attempted to suggest there’s something sleazy about this.

“All you’ve suggested is that there should be a degree of transparency as to why the money is needed.”

Brixton concert crush: Police watchdog investigates incident as three people in critical condition | UK News

The police watchdog has said it has launched an investigation following a concert crush at the O2 Academy Brixton in south London on Thursday night.

In a statement on Friday, Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove said an incident in which an officer was “apparently seen to push a member of the public” is currently under review by the force’s director of professional standards.

Three people are in critical condition in hospital and one person was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer following a concert crush at a show by Afrobeat artist Asake.

A spokesperson for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it is aware of the incident and added: “We will assess the available information, including footage of the incident, to determine what further action may be required.”

The Met Police Gold Commander Ade Adelekan said that where force has been used by officers “those officers know they have to be accountable for their actions”.

He added that the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards will look at all material, including body-worn video footage from those at the scene.

Mr Wingrove added that an “urgent investigation” into the concert crush was underway.

A total of eight people were taken to hospital after a crowd attempted to gain entry without tickets, the Metropolitan Police said.

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Crowd tries to enter Asake gig

Lambeth police and other emergency services were alerted to the scene on Stockwell Road after 9.30pm following reports of injuries after “a large crowd attempted to gain entry without tickets”.

Footage posted online showed large crowds outside the building, with many people holding up mobile phones and filming the scene.

Injuries were believed to have been caused by “crushing”, according to Scotland Yard police officers.

The concert was eventually cancelled part-way through, with fans of the Nigerian singer told: “The reason we have to stop the show is because they have breached the doors.”

Following the incident, Asake, who was recently nominated for BBC Radio 1’s Sound of 2023 award, said his “heart is with those who were injured” at his concert.

Clothes and medical gloves lie on the floor outside Brixton O2 Academy
Clothes and medical gloves lie on the floor outside Brixton O2 Academy

Labour MP Florence Eshalomi has called for answers to what led to the crush, and stated that “ticketing and security procedures have not performed as they should have”.

Ahead of the gig, Asake posted on Twitter asking fans not to come to the venue unless they had a valid ticket.

The concert was the third of three sold-out dates at the 4,921-standing capacity venue and concluded a run of UK dates.

Police watchdog chief Michael Lockwood resigns over investigation into ‘historical allegation’ | UK News

The head of the police watchdog has resigned over a “historical allegation”, the home secretary has said.

Suella Braverman revealed she had accepted Michael Lockwood’s resignation as director general of the Independent Office for Police Conduct after he was asked to either quit or be suspended.

Yesterday, Mr Lockwood said he had resigned for “personal and domestic reasons”.

“I took immediate action upon being made aware that Mr Lockwood was the subject of a police investigation into an historical allegation, and instructed my officials to ask him to resign or face immediate suspension from his role,” Ms Braverman said.

“Home Office staff are working at pace with the IOPC’s Unitary Board to put in place temporary arrangements for the organisation’s leadership.”

Mr Lockwood was the first director general appointed to lead the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which replaced the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in 2018.

In a statement yesterday, he said: “It is with great sadness that I have decided to resign as Director General of the IOPC for personal and domestic reasons, and this will be effective from today.

“It has been an enormous privilege to serve as the first Director General of the IOPC and to have led the organisation for the past five years.

“I am proud of the progress we have made and I am grateful to all our staff, the Unitary Board and external stakeholders for all their support.

“The Unitary Board will now work with the Home Office to put in place new leadership arrangements as quickly as possible.”

‘Thousands’ of corrupt officers may be in police after vetting failures, watchdog warns | UK News

Hundreds – if not thousands – of police officers who should have failed vetting checks may be serving in England and Wales, a watchdog has warned.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services looked at 11,277 police officers and staff across eight forces, examined 725 vetting files, considered 264 complaint and misconduct investigations, and interviewed 42 people.

They found cases where criminal behaviour was dismissed as a “one off”; applicants with links to “extensive criminality” in their families were hired as police officers; warnings a prospective officer could present a risk to the public were ignored; officers transferring between forces despite a history of complaints or allegations of misconduct; and basic blunders that led to the wrong vetting decisions.

The report found that some staff had criminal records, some were alleged to have committed serious crime, some had substantial undischarged debt, and some had relatives linked to organised crime.

Some 131 cases were identified where inspectors said vetting decisions were “questionable at best” – and in 68 of those, the inspectors disagreed with the decision to grant vetting clearance.

Matt Parr, Inspector of Constabulary, said: “It is too easy for the wrong people to both join and stay in the police.

“If the police are to rebuild public trust and protect their own female officers and staff, vetting must be much more rigorous and sexual misconduct taken more seriously.

“It seems reasonable for me to say that over the last three or four years, the number of people recruited over whom we would raise significant questions is certainly in the hundreds, if not low thousands… it’s not in the tens, it’s at least in the hundreds.”

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Mr Parr said that the pressure to meet the government’s target to hire 20,000 new officers by March next year “cannot be allowed to act as an excuse” for poor vetting.

“The marked decline in public trust for policing is undoubtedly linked to the prevalence of some of these dreadful incidents we’ve seen in recent years, and you should have a higher standard of who gets in and who stays in if you’re going to look to reduce those kinds of incidents,” he added.

The report was commissioned by Priti Patel when she was home secretary, following the murder of Sarah Everard.

Ms Everard was killed by serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens, who used his police warrant card under the guise of an arrest to kidnap her in March 2021.

33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard was murdered by former police officer Wayne Couzens
Sarah Everard

Female officers subject to ‘appalling behaviour by male colleagues’

The review did not look into the specifics of Couzens’ recruitment but its findings raise questions about whether improved security checks would have prevented him from getting a job with the Metropolitan Police.

The investigators also found an “alarming number” of female officers said they had been subject to “appalling behaviour by male colleagues”.

Among its 43 recommendations, HMICFRS said improvements were needed in the standards used for assessing and investigating misconduct allegations, as well as in the quality and consistency of vetting.

It also said that better guidance was needed on conduct in the workplace and definitions of misogynistic and predatory behaviour.

Home secretary ‘disappointed’

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said it was “disappointing that HMICFRS have found that, even in a small number of cases, forces are taking unnecessary risks with vetting”.

“I have been clear that culture and standards in the police need to change and the public’s trust in policing restored.

“Chief constables must learn these lessons and act on the findings of this report as a matter of urgency.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said: “Chief constables, supported by national bodies, will act on these recommendations and put the problems right because we cannot risk predatory or discriminatory individuals slipping through the net because of flawed processes and decision-making.

“The confidence of the public and our staff is dependent on us fixing these problems with urgency, fully and for the long term. Police chiefs are determined to do that.”