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Rowley says progress made on ‘cutting out the cancer’ of rogue officers in the Met

Scotland Yard chief Sir Mark Rowley said significant progress has been made “cutting out the cancer” of rogue police officers who riddled his force.

Speaking days before his first anniversary in the job, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark told City Hall removing around 200 bad apples was crucial to delivering more trust, less crime and higher standards in London.

But he admitted to the police and crime committee on Wednesday: “It’s sad to be a Commissioner who has to put standards on the top line because we’ve slipped up.”

Recent scandals including Sarah Everard’s murder by PC Wayne Couzens, who worked in the same armed unit as serial rapist David Carrick.

Last month, a judge blasted the Met saying another serial rapist officer, Adam Provan, could have been stopped if the force had acted sooner.

Of Sir Mark’s leadership board, he said only two out of 11 senior officers under his predecessor Dame Cressida Dick remain.

Sir Mark said such a reset was essential to have people with the “right skills and approaches for the challenges ahead”.

“Principals such as putting communities first, supporting frontline officers, becoming more inclusive and being more collaborate with partners cannot be achieved with that key foundation.

“The body that is the Met, there is a minority that because of systemic failings has more effect than it ought to,” Sir Mark said.

L - R Wayne Couzens, Adam Provan and David Carrick. (Metropolitan Police)
L - R Wayne Couzens, Adam Provan and David Carrick. (Metropolitan Police)

“That cancer needs cutting out. A lot of this is about the health of the majority, so it becomes a stronger, fitter organisation that repels infection, repels bad, unacceptable and criminal behaviour.

“And that’s why we’re spending so much time thinking about that, trying to build the expertise from people in and outside the organisation.”

Sir Mark said 150 extra police had been drafted into the Met’s anti-corruption unit to root out officers now being sacked and suspended in higher numbers.

Turning to last month’s Notting Hill Carnival, Sir Mark added he had “real concern” as he revealed nine men were stabbed, one of whom miraculously survived, and 69 officers injured, although they are believed to be back on patrol.

Around 71 knives were recovered and “one or two” firearms.

He said police were working with organisers, Notting Hill Carnival Trust Ltd, about how to mitigate a “risk of crushing” at the annual event in west London.

“It’s an event of over a million people,” he told members of the police and crime committee.

“The vast majority have a fantastic time and it’s a very special event in London’s calendar.

“The crime associated with it is not disproportionate to other big events in terms of size. If you took some of the more difficult football matches pro rata, the arrest and crime numbers are not that different.

“The thing that is different is the severity of those crimes, where we have nine stabbings, one was very close to being a murder. It’s miraculous the young man’s life was saved.”

Sir Mark was questioned as a teenager stabbed to death in north west London was named.

Anis Omar Zen, 19, was found injured on Masefield Avenue, Stanmore around 5pm on Monday.

Paramedics pronounced Anis, from Harrow, dead at the scene a short time later despite efforts of the emergency services.

His death piles further pressure on Mayor Sadiq Khan and Sir Mark to stop the bloodshed.

He is the 13th teenager to be killed in London this year, one away from 14 for the whole of last year and 30 in 2021, the bloodiest year on record.

Anis died within hours of aspiring construction worker Ronaldo Scott, 21, ambushed by men who jumped out of a car and stabbed him in front of his mother and sister near a children’s park on the Angell Town estate, Brixton.

New figures show 2,290 people – an average of 10 a day - were stabbed in London between January 1 and August 14, a 5.3 per cent rise on 2022.

Crowds during the Children’s Day Parade, part of the Notting Hill Carnival celebration in west London (PA Wire)
Crowds during the Children’s Day Parade, part of the Notting Hill Carnival celebration in west London (PA Wire)

Sir Mark said of the data revealed in Tuesday’s Evening Standard: “Knife crime is still below what it was pre-Covid. It has gone up slightly this year and we are doing everything we can about that.

“We are keeping homicide at the lowest level it has been for many, many years. We have more than doubled our detection of rape. We’ve gone from being in the bottom quarter in the country to being in the top quarter.

“We’ve got to keep an eye on that rise in violence. My biggest operational concern is street robbery and theft from person, particularly mobile phones, where we are high compared to other cities. We’ve got a long way to go.”

Met officers investigating Anis’ murder said a 19-year-old man arrested near the scene on suspicion of murder has since been bailed pending further enquiries.

A post-mortem examination is due to be held on Thursday.

Detective Chief Inspector Laurence Smith said: “I am urging anyone with information to come forward and contact us.

“This murder happened in broad daylight, and I’m certain that it would have been witnessed by people who are yet to speak with officers.

“The motive for this murder remains unclear at this time. We are determined to find the person responsible but we need your help.”Any witnesses to either attack is asked to call police via 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.