Keir Starmer has indicated the Metropolitan police might need to change its name as part of a much-needed “root and branch” review in the wake of the David Carrick case.
The Labour leader likened the scale of change needed within the force to the policing reforms in Northern Ireland which took place after the Good Friday agreement. The Royal Ulster Constabulary was eventually replaced by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Starmer said the crimes committed by the serial rapist Carrick, a Met firearms officer, were “jaw-droppingly shocking”, but highlighted that there had been a number of scandals within the force prior to this. He told the News Agents podcast: “It needs a root and branch review, cultural change, because this is not just the perpetrators, it’s those that have allowed this to happen … not taken action when they should have done.
“With the police service in Northern Ireland … that was root and branch, that was stripping it down.
“It was also very important that it was called the Police Service of Northern Ireland because it changed the way in which the force was looking, it was a service to the public, not a police force.”
Pressed on whether the Met should change its name, Starmer added: “If changing the name signals a change, then perhaps, but it was very important to what we were trying to achieve in Northern Ireland that it was the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”
The Carrick case followed a series of damaging scandals for the Met, including the murder of Sarah Everard by then serving officer Wayne Couzens, offensive messages exchanged officers mainly based at Charing Cross police station and the strip-search of a teenage girl at school while she was on her period.
When asked if he would encourage his daughter to get advice from a serving Met police officer if she was lost, late at night, he said “yes”, before adding: “I think it’s really important that we say that. I understand the concerns that many people might have about that. But yes, I would. But, do we need to strip it down? And look again? Yes.”