In March 2023, Baroness Casey released her report into the problems that exist within the Metropolitan Police force in the wake of the kidnap, murder and rape of Sarah Everard. The Met has been notorious for its toxic environment, riddled with sexism, misogyny and racism which causes us to question - if those who are meant to keep us safe indulge in the same thing as those who abuse us, how are we supposed to protect ourselves?
One of the report’s main findings was the inadequate dismissal of officers who had misconduct complaints lodged against them. It was found that certain officers had multiple complaints filed against them, with little to no action being taken. Complaints were not being taken seriously, leading to an escalation in inappropriate behaviour - officers faced no consequences, therefore, continued to act the same, if not, worse.
Further findings of the report include that the police continuously fail to protect the public from officers who abuse women, and violence against women has not been treated as seriously as other violent crimes. The report explicitly and undeniably sheds light on how women are failed by a system that is supposed to protect and support them, despite claims that this is a top priority for the force. After being subject to a crime, women are forced to seek support from an institution that will not treat the crime with the severity it deserves.
The report drew much-needed attention to the institutional problems that exist within the Met, problems that lead to less protection and less accountability. We hope that the recommendations made, for example, the establishment of specialised teams to deal with rape and sexual assault will take a step in enabling women to feel a sense of confidence towards the system.
The report only served to heighten the issues and concerns women already harbour regarding leaving our houses late at night or walking home on our own. We hope that we will be kept safe by institutions such as the police, but unfortunately, the report exposes the fact that we can do everything to keep ourselves, but sometimes it is not enough. I hope the recommendations from the report will be taken seriously to keep women safe, but I also hope educational institutions will recognise the role they can play in teaching boys and men how to treat women leading to a safer society for future generations.
- Rianna Mistry