Sadiq Khan says he felt ‘gaslit’ by the police

The Metropolitan Police has been found to be institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic.

Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says that he felt gaslit by the police as a person of colour, after being asked to comment on the findings of Louise Casey’s report which found that the Metropolitan Police is institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic.

Interviewed on Times Radio, Khan was asked how he felt reading the report, which uncovered disturbing stories of sexual assaults which had been covered up or downplayed, with 12% of women in the Met saying they had been harassed or attacked at work, and one-third experiencing sexism.

Khan said he felt ‘sad’ reading the report. He went on to add: “I tell you what else I felt and this is the first time I’ve said this actually, is, my experience but also the experience of women I’ve spoken to, black people I’ve spoken to, gay people I’ve spoken to, is we often feel gaslit, we often feel when we’re explaining our experience with the police that we must have imagined it.

“Because people find it incredulous. And for a long time, I felt gaslit. I felt like, is it just me because my white friends haven’t got this experience. And when I speak to women in particular they also felt that hold on a sec I was the victim of rape, I reported it, and then what I thought what happened, didn’t happen. And the reason why I think Dame Louise Casey’s report is so important is because she gives examples of the experience other people have had.”

The report by Lady Casey was commissioned by the Met after one of its officers abducted Sarah Everard, taking her from a London street in March 2021, before raping and murdering her.

The 363-page report highlights a collapse of confidence in the Met, with Lady Casey saying: “Public respect has fallen to a low point. Londoners who do not have confidence in the Met outnumber those who do, and these measures have been lower amongst black Londoners for years.

“The Met has yet to free itself of institutional racism. Public consent is broken. The Met has become unanchored from the Peelian principle of policing by consent set out when it was established.”

Casey’s report revealed that a female officer who reported being raped by a colleague was then forced to work alongside him. Junior staff were urinated on in showers and a gay officer crossed the street to avoid colleagues.

A Muslim officer had bacon pushed into his boots and a senior member of staff thought it would be amusing to cut off the beard of a Sikh member of staff. The report also found that female officers were treated like “cattle” and judged on their perceived attractiveness and broken fridges were used to store rape kits.

The report found that the use of stop and search powers against black people was excessive.

Casey’s recommendations included that Independent experts should overhaul the force, with consideration given to breaking it up if major reforms are not achieved quickly.

The head of the Met Police, Mark Rowley, has apologised for the failings of the Met. He told Sky News: “I absolutely accept the diagnosis that Louise Casey comes up with. We have racists, misogynists and homophobes in the organisation. And it’s not just about individuals. We have systemic failings, management failings and cultural failings.”

Elsewhere, Rowley said he would not categorize the force’s failings as “institutional” because the term was “political and ambiguous.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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