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Revealed: Scotland Yard’s Anti-Corruption and Abuse Hotline Inundated with Calls

Despite initially denying it held the data, the Met confirm 2,400 anonymous reports of corrupt or abusive staff

Photo: Islandstock/Alamy

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There have been more than 2,400 calls to the Metropolitan Police’s anti-corruption and abuse hotline since its creation, Byline Times can reveal.

The hotline was set up in November 2022 to allow the public to report concerns about officers, in the wake of a number of scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens. At the time, serial rapist officer David Carrick was awaiting trial for his crimes.

A national version for the rest of England and Wales is set to be rolled out shortly, with Crimestoppers, the charity that runs the Met’s hotline, being awarded a contract for the service last month.

The Met insists that the hotline is a “valuable tool” in its efforts to root out those who should not be serving despite its Freedom of Information (FOI) department repeatedly stating that the force did not receive information about the number of calls and online reports made to it.

After a challenge to its denial that it had a figure, the FOI officer insisted it did not have the data but stated she had specifically contacted Crimestoppers for the information and was providing it as “a gesture of goodwill” rather than data it is obliged to disclose under FOI law.

The Met’s public log of FOI disclosures shows other people have also been told the Met does not hold the information about calls to its hotline.


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However more than a week after the Byline Times questioned how useful the service can be if the force does not monitor how many people are contacting it, a spokesperson said it is kept “regularly informed” about the number of calls it receives and they could not explain the FOI officer’s response.

The spokesperson added: “We took the unprecedented step of providing the public with an anonymous route to report concerns or share information about a police officer or member of staff working in the Met who may be corrupt or abusive.

“The hotline is a valuable tool in our overall efforts to root out anyone who is not fit to remain in the organisation.”

National Black Police Association (NBPA) president Andy George said it was “disappointing” that the FOI team appeared to be unaware that the force held data on calls received.

While the Byline Times was waiting to hear back on its challenge to the non-disclosure of the information, Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly, put a similar question to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

She was told that 2,400 calls or online contacts were made to the service up to 15 January 2024. Of those, 727 had resulted in intelligence reports being passed to the Met’s Department of Professional Standards with further investigation believed necessary in 217 instances.

Khan’s officers said that 128 of the 727 intelligence reports fell into categories related to abuse or control of partners, crossing professional boundaries for sexual purposes or racist, homophobic or misogynistic conduct.

They said it was not possible to provide figures on how many allegations have been proven as many of the reports are still being investigated.

Pidgeon told this newspaper: “These figures only go to show the need for the Met to speed up cultural reform. The Baroness Casey review and the Angiolini report demonstrate a desperate need for the Met to rebuild public trust in their service, especially among women and girls.


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“The anti-corruption helpline is one tool among many that must be effectively used to completely overhaul the Met’s culture.”

She called for the government to make changes to regulations to help speed up disciplinary cases, and added: “It is vital that the reform efforts of the Met are implemented as soon as possible and that ongoing investigations are finalised at a faster rate.”

In March 2023, just over three months after the Met’s hotline was set up, chief constables of other forces discussed establishing a national version of the service after being told that it had already received 55 calls related to officers outside of the capital.

To date, 95 reports to the service have related to officers working outside London.

National Hotline Due

The national hotline is expected to be unveiled in the coming days after Crimestoppers was awarded a £30,000 four-year contract to run it last month.

Andrew George, of the NBPA, said: “The rollout of a national hotline to report wrongdoing by police officers is a welcome measure but the NBPA is concerned that this does not adequately deal with the issues surrounding officers like Couzens and Carrick let alone others who commit inappropriate or discriminatory behaviours.”

He said that there were reports about, and missed opportunities to deal with, Couzens and Carrick, which a hotline would not have resolved without other complaints and misconduct issues being addressed. He added that he would also have hoped for more research and insights to be gleaned from the Met’s hotline before another was established.

“Our members continue to see racism, misogyny and other discriminatory behaviours go unpunished whilst they appear to be held to a much higher standard,” he said.

Rick Muir, chief executive of the Police Foundation think tank, said the number of people calling the hotline sounds like a “decent response” from the public and that it probably led to important information being learned.

“I think it’s an important part of [efforts to regain trust] as well as its new unit that is looking for such cases in a more proactive way,” he added.

“In taking on more of these cases, which is obviously the right thing to do, you also generate a lot of negative publicity. I think there’s an expectation in policing that we’ll see more of these cases going to court so for a year or two we may see trust go down further and it will only be after they’ve got through those that trust can start to rise again.”

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