Angiolini Inquiry Report - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 7:53 pm ar 5 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Hughes of Stretford Baroness Hughes of Stretford Llafur 7:53, 5 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, recommendation 14 says:

“With immediate effect, every police force should commit publicly to being an antisexist, anti-misogynistic, anti-racist organisation in order to address, understand and eradicate sexism, racism and misogyny, contributing to a wider … culture … This includes properly addressing—and taking steps to root out—so-called ‘banter’ that often veils or excuses malign or toxic behaviour in police ranks”.

What concerns me is that this kind of finding has been repeated in more or less every investigation, inquiry and report into police malpractice for decades. Yet here we are again, with this report concluding that police leaders, whose responsibility it is to address those issues, have not taken a stand on them and stamped them out. As my noble friend just pointed out, in many instances the unacceptable behaviour of individuals is in plain sight among their colleagues and has gone unchallenged. My concern is the process by which the detail of the responses, which my noble friend on these Benches and the noble Baroness on the other Benches referred to, will be decided. Given the history of this, I do not feel that it can be left to individual chief constables—or even to police organisations such as the College of Policing, much as I respect them—to come to the conclusions that are necessary. The process needs to be absolutely transparent for the public—as well as other police officers, who have been referred to—to feel confidence in it.

I have some questions for the Minister. First, how would he intend to involve people with lived experience of these kinds of behaviours of the police and organisations that represent women in particular, as well as other people who have been discriminated against? Secondly, I will take up the point that my noble friend raised. The Minister referred to the statutory duty to report wrongdoing. What is wrongdoing? At the moment, it would appear that it does not include the kind of vile behaviours and verbal comments that we have seen in relation to Couzens and elsewhere. If there is a requirement of police officers and staff to report anybody who expresses discriminatory, sexist or misogynistic statements, I would like to see the Government commit to strengthen it. That should definitely be included in the definition of wrongdoing.