How to show that the Metropolitan Police is institutionally corrupt

25th June 2021

In this Financial Times video out today – no paywall! – I have sought to set out how the 1,200 page, three volume independent panel report on Daniel Morgan substantiates the core charge of ‘institutional corruption’ at the metropolitan police.

Please click through and watch it – and leave any comments below.

(The more clicks and views, the more likely I will be able to do more law and policy videos at the FT – so if you value my law and policy commentary, please do have a look.)


9 thoughts on “How to show that the Metropolitan Police is institutionally corrupt”

  1. Thank you for the video, really good insights – Sir Ian Blair says there is no “systematic” corruption however surely it’s more an issue of “systemic” corruption? A failing process step is not the same as a failing in beliefs and values.

  2. A very clear and concise narrative which has ramifications not just for the Police but other State sponsored institutions. Well done for all your work on this David. I enjoyed listening to this podcast

  3. Thanks. A tour de force. I particularly liked the way you simply read bits of the report and drew the natural inferences with little gloss or varnish.

    Thanks for pointing out that this mostly about the Met, but not just about the Met: other bodies (another constabulary, and the complaints authority) also failed.

    You ended by saying there may be a risk of institutional denial. The failure to respond adequately so far is already a form of institutional denial.

    They will say it was a few bad apples. They will say that a lot was done well. They will say most problems were unintended or accidental. They will say other people make worse mistakes. They will say it was a long time ago. They will say it couldn’t happen now. They will say lessons will be learned. Deny, deflect, defend.

  4. It appears that the Met, and previous senior officers of the Force, are in denial about institutional corruption, seeing corruption in the limited sense of individual ‘bent coppers’ taking bribes and turning a ‘blind eye’ for financial benefit. This response is similar to that following the McPherson Report on the death of Steven Lawrence, where senior Met officers denied institutional racism on the grounds that not every police office in the Force was a racist. And such a response is not good enough.

  5. A very pithy and informative presentation.

    I was very interested in the definition of “institutional corruption” and some of the ways in which the panel identified this in the Police handling of the Daniel Morgan case. But I kept thinking of another example which fits the definition pretty perfectly – the repeated behavior of the present (and many past) governments when confronted with obvious faults and errors – to ignore, deny and reassure. Read almost any comment made by a government press officer at the end of almost any article published in the press where government malfeasance is disclosed and of course the subsequent interviews with Ministers and MP’s which also follow (all using “lines to take”). Not answering questions, denying the obvious and reassuring about what government’s plans and intentions are.

    This fits several of your quotes such as: “When failings in police investigations are combined with unjustified reassurances rather than candour on the part of the Metropolitan Police, this may constitute institutional corruption.”

    “Concealing or denying failings for the sake of your organisation’s public image is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit. In the panel’s view, this constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”

    “The lack of candour and the repeated failure to take a fresh, thorough, and critical look at past failings are all symptoms of institutional corruption which prioritises institutional reputation over public accountability. So, in this report, the panel has provided a definition of corruption generally and the definition of institutional corruption in particular.”

  6. In my experience, senior leaders actually see it as their role to act as gate keepers and to deflect any possible criticism of their organisation. But by removing that thin veneer of corporate loyalty, we can see that any response (be it an action or inaction) serves, I would argue, to protect the reputation of the individual senior leader. Which effectively equates to realising that there is no corporate malfeasance without the support (tacit or otherwise) senior leaders. It’s not rocket science to understand that senior positions are filled by people who are clinically ruthless in demonstrating how perfect they are in overseeing/managing their own profiles.

  7. Gobsmacking summary, thank you.

    If several individual bad apples are corrupt, and if senior officers are aware of it or turn a blind eye, that surely constitutes institutional acceptance of the rot in the apple barrel.

  8. As an FT reader I had missed this video but I’m grateful to you for bringing it to my attention through your blog. Truly frightening!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.