A toxic “boy culture” exists in Britain’s biggest police force and the job is attractive to the force chasing victims, a former Met officer has said.

Alice Vinten, who served on the force for 10 years, believes the police service can only change if bosses attract more “wrong-ons” to it than other professions.

A damning report is expected this week accusing the Metropolitan Police of racism, sexism and homophobia and failing to change despite repeated warnings to do so.

Baroness Casey is due to publish a review of culture and standards in the military, commissioned following the killing of Sarah Everard by a service officer.

Ms Vinten said that while the focus was on the Met, she believed there were similar problems across the entire police service.

“I hope that the toxic culture of sexism within the Met will be exposed for the reality that ‘boy culture’ still exists,” she told the PA news agency.

“Women often don’t feel supported by their male colleagues, especially when they have to complain about a male colleague, men often don’t stand behind them.

“The reality is that there is still a stigma attached to ‘your own’ reporting and this needs to be turned on its head – officers should be commended for reporting dangerous or corrupt officers, not ostracized for it.

“I don’t think these issues are specific to the Met, I think these things are happening in every force across the UK.

“After Sarah Everard’s murder, the focus has been mainly on the Met, but if we gave every British police service the same level of scrutiny we would find exactly the same issues – sexist jokes, unacceptable WhatsApp discussions, harassment of female officers and men. Using their power to reach vulnerable women .”

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The police constable-turned-author wants to see measures including a unit of female detectives to investigate allegations of sexual offenses by female officers and staff, and a system where two people screen job candidates separately.

She said the force also needs to acknowledge that policing attracts power-hungry miscreants.

“They need to accept that the force attracts crooks and criminals, and that the police service as a whole attracts more ‘wrong-ons’ than any other profession,” Ms Vinten said.

“They need to accept that they are a profession that is being targeted by bad people, who want to abuse their power.

“Until they do this, and dedicate dedicated officers/police staff to rooting out bad cops, nothing will change.”

Solicitor Harriet Wistrich, director of the Center for Women’s Justice, says officers who turn a blind eye to wrongdoing should be punished as well as the perpetrators themselves.

She told the PA: “It is clear from everything we have seen over the past few years that the Met has allowed a culture of abuse, racism and homophobia within the organization to go unchallenged.

“Failure to address these issues and sweep them under the carpet has led to the most dire consequences in cases like (Wayne) Couzens and (David) Carrick which fundamentally undermines trust in the police.

“A key issue in my view is the culture of loyalty that punishes whistleblowers and rewards those who cooperate – this has to be fundamentally reformed.

“Those who organize or fail to call out and challenge blatant misogyny and racism must be held accountable as well as culpable.”

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Amid reports in the Guardian that Baroness Casey’s review would be “brutal” for the Met, Ball said it would not comment until it was published in full.

The Met has been embroiled in a series of scandals in recent years, involving sergeant Wayne Cousins, who died in prison for Miss Everard’s murder, and David Carrick, who was overlooked as one of Britain’s most notorious sex offenders.

Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, hopes the review will look at how police power and culture enable officers and staff to commit crimes related to violence against women and girls.

“Given the long history of abuse and racism at the Met, from the revelations of undercover policing in the 1980s to the findings of the McPherson Report, and the many Police Inspectorate reports, we are keen to see this review finally driven home. The culture and operation of the organization must change urgently,” she said.

“The report’s findings likely point to issues we’ve known about for a long time, so we want to hear in concrete terms how it can lead to action that results in meaningful transformation.”

Jane Butler, chief executive of Rape Crisis England and Wales, said she hoped the review would focus on “transparency, accountability and culture change”.

She said: “Rebuilding public trust in the police requires a radical cultural transformation.

“We want a zero-tolerance approach to officers charged with sexual or domestic abuse crimes, and fair trial processes to root out those with sexist, racist and misogynistic views.

“It is important that the Met can clearly outline the definition of gross misconduct and that it is applied consistently.

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“It is also important to detail how professional standards will be strengthened, and how these will be enforced and developed if necessary.”


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