The report was commissioned under the Police Act 1996 by the then Home Secretary Priti Patel. HMICFRS assessed hundreds of vetting files and discovered “too many cases where people should not have been allowed to join the police force”.
This included people with criminal records or connections to organised crime and cases where evidence that an officer could be of risk to members of the public was ignored, such as Ms Everard’s attacker, former police officer Wayne Couzens.
The report also found cases where officers transferred between forces despite a history of misconduct allegations and complaints.
It said: “A culture of misogyny, sexism and predatory behaviour towards female police officers and staff and members of the public still exist and is even prevalent in many forces.”
Crime & Policing Minister Chris Philp called the report “deeply concerning” and said that all of the recommendations “should be urgently implemented”.
Mr Philp added: “At the same time, we should keep in mind that the vast majority of police officers work hard and heroically to keep us safe.”
The report made 43 recommendations, including updating the standards for pre-employment checks, raising the quality and consistency of vetting decisions and improving how allegations of misconduct are assessed.
Jane Kenyon, founder of Girls Out Loud, a social enterprise working with vulnerable teenage girls in the UK, called the report “disturbing and scary, but not in the least bit surprising”.
She added: “If girls and women can’t trust the police, then who can they trust? We are failing and it cannot be allowed to continue.
“We desperately need major change to protect our women and girls so that they can feel safe and seen – and we need it now.”
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Speaking to Express.co.uk, she claimed: “The more women sat around the top table and being involved in senior decision-making the more chance we have of being heard and implementing the change needed in the system.”
Ms Kenyon also called for more legal deterrents for violence against women, and further resourcing and improved training to tackle violence against women.
The police must “clear out the bad apples en masse” and have a zero-tolerance approach to officers who “engage in criminal activities, sexual assault, and extreme misogyny”, she said as she warned not to “cut corners on vetting”.
The founder of Girls Out Loud warned that the size of some forces, such as the Metropolitan Police is a contributing factor with forces having “differing standards”.
Despite the law stating that officers should be re-vetted every 10 years or when their personal circumstances change, the report by the inspectorate implies this does not happen across the board.
Ms Kenyon advocated for the centralisation of the vetting procedures, saying: “We are playing a dangerous game.
“It is too easy to beat the system…take it out of the jurisdiction of individual forces and centralise it.”
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Former Met Commissioner Cressida Dick’s leadership was increasingly peppered with examples of women being failed by the police.
According to Rape Crisis, just one percent of rapes recorded by police in 2021 resulted in a charge that same year.
Following the findings of the report, Ms Kenyon claimed that vulnerable girls and women are at an increased risk due to the issues of police vetting.
She concluded: “I can’t help but feel women’s lives don’t matter”.
Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray from the Met said: “Being ruthless in ridding the Met of those who corrupt our integrity is central to Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley’s vision of reform.
“We are setting clear expectations of behaviour and are developing data and technology to identify those who are not fit to serve.
“We will succeed with the vast majority of our honest and dedicated officers and staff. We welcome the HMICFRS’ report and will carefully consider the opportunities for learning and improvement.”