Just Sociology

Discrimination Within the Metropolitan Police: Institutional Racism Misogyny and Homophobia

The Metropolitan Police, also known as the Met, is the largest police force in the UK, responsible for law enforcement across London. It has a long-standing reputation for being a reputable institution, despite numerous issues with racism, sexism, and homophobia within its ranks.

Despite attempts to address these issues, progress has been slow, and the Met’s culture continues to be a topic of concern. This article explores the problems with the culture of the Metropolitan Police, focusing on the issues of sexism, homophobia, and racism, as well as the reasons why the Met continues to be an institutionally racist organization.

The article also discusses recommendations for fixing the Met, recommending improvements to the recruitment process, calls for greater accountability, and the need for cultural change from the top of the organization.

Sexism and Homophobia in the MET

One of the biggest problems facing the Metropolitan Police is the under-representation of women and LGBTQ+ officers within its ranks, particularly in leadership positions. Harassment, sexism, and homophobia continue to be pervasive in the organization, with numerous complaints about bullying, discrimination, and inappropriate behavior.

A recent report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICFRS) revealed that only 38% of Met officers thought that their colleagues would feel confident to report inappropriate behavior if they witnessed it, which highlights a culture of fear and victim-blaming that continues to exist.

Racism in the MET

The Met has been criticized for being disproportionately white, despite the fact that London is one of the most diverse cities in the world. The use of ‘stop and search’ is another issue that has raised concerns about racist policing practices.

Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of stop and search, with some arguing that it is often used to target ethnic minority groups, leading to a lack of trust between the police and the communities they serve. High-profile cases of discipline and misconduct involving individual officers, such as the Muslim officer who was forced to resign because of alleged links to terrorism or the Sikh officer who was allegedly forced to remove his turban, have contributed to an overall perception of institutional racism within the Met.

Reasons for the MET being Institutionally Racist

The reasons behind the Met being an institutionally racist organization are multifaceted. One issue is the poor recruitment process, which has been criticized for its lack of diversity and the tendency towards discriminatory hiring practices.

The management of the Met has also been called into question, with many arguing that dismissive responses to complaints about discrimination and harassment indicate a broader culture of not speaking up, and inadequate training around equality, diversity and inclusion. Factors such as budget cuts and heavy workload are additional challenges that affect the overall performance of the police force.

Fixing the MET

To fix the culture of the Metropolitan Police, a complete overhaul of the organization is required. Investing in training, specialist units such as the Firearms Unit, and better equipment and technology may help to improve the overall performance of the force.

Additionally, the commissioner of the Met needs new powers to effectively deal with complaints against officers. Finally, there needs to be an improved recruitment process that focuses on preventing discriminatory hiring practices, during which diverse recruitment panels and unconscious bias training are used, so that the Metropolitan Police can become more representative of the communities they serve.

New Powers for the Commissioner

One way of addressing the problems within the Metropolitan Police is to give new powers and responsibilities to the commissioner. These rights should include greater accountability for officers involved in discrimination, harassment or other inappropriate behavior, as well as the power to take steps against those who demonstrate such behavior.

Furthermore, the creation of a special unit to investigate complaints of discrimination and harassment would provide additional oversight that would allow the commissioner to build trust with the community.

Improved Recruitment Process

The Metropolitan Police needs to take important steps to address the issues around recruiting, ensuring that it is diverse and transparent. A focus on preventing discriminatory hiring can include things like the use of diverse recruitment panels and unconscious bias training, in order to select a more representative group of individuals.

The Metropolitan Police should also commit to engaging with communities to highlight the importance of the police force reflecting Londons diverse population.

Reforming the Culture of the MET

To fix the Metropolitan Police’s culture, mandatory training on equality, diversity, and inclusion is necessary. The police force should create a culture of open reporting and accountability, which will help to improve trust between the police and the community.

The Met also needs to create a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment, and engage with marginalized groups that have been traditionally under- and misrepresented to create a culture of openness and understanding. Finally, external oversight can introduce further accountability and ensure that the Metropolitan Police is meeting all the above requirements.


The Metropolitan Police needs to address the systemic issues surrounding sexism, racism, and homophobia within its ranks. By taking bold steps, like transforming the recruitment process, and committing to creating a diverse and transparent workplace, the Met can be transformed into a force that represents the communities it serves.

Reforming the culture of the organization is equally necessary, as is establishing increased external oversight mechanisms for accountability. If the Metropolitan Police addresses these issues, it can take a huge step towards creating a trusted and effective force in London.The problems with the culture of the Metropolitan Police go beyond the issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia.

They also extend to problems with the lack of confidence people have in the police force and examples of discrimination against individuals. This article explores these further issues faced by the Met, including why some people lack confidence in them, and how there are even more examples of sexism, harassment, racism, and homophobia within the police force that need to be addressed.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities

A significant issue within the Metropolitan Police is the disparity in confidence levels between different people. A report by the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime found that Black and Asian respondents to a survey had lower levels of confidence in the police force compared to their White counterparts.

The report showed that people from ethnic minority backgrounds, especially Black and Asian communities, were more likely to feel that the police were not dealing with issues that matter most to them. The Met needs to address this issue to help build stronger relationships with the communities they serve.

Increased Domestic Abuse Cases

Another issue that has affected confidence in the Metropolitan Police recently is the significant increase in domestic abuse cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have felt that the police have not done enough to combat discrimination against women and other minority groups that are disproportionately affected by domestic abuse.

Reports have noted that the police have a complex workload, and this has led to less focus on tackling discrimination and sexism within the police force.

Sexism and Harassment

Sexism and harassment within the Met is not limited to under-representation of women and LGBTQ+ officers. Women who are already in the Metropolitan Police have filed numerous complaints about sustained harassment and sexist behavior within the organization, even from colleagues in senior positions.

Instances of indecent acts such as flashing taken against female colleagues have also been noted, and individuals have encountered negative consequences for complaining, such as being excluded or even ostracized. The Metropolitan Police must make addressing sexism and harassment a priority, with a zero-tolerance policy towards such behavior.

Racism and Homophobia

Like sexism, racism and homophobia are significant issues within the Metropolitan Police. Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) staff have reported discrimination in promotional opportunities and a lack of representation among leadership positions.

In addition, BAME staff have reported a lack of support when they experience racist abuse from colleagues or the public, as well as punitive actions taken against them for reporting incidents of racism, which further discourages others from coming forward. Similarly, LGBTQ+ officers have been discriminated against, with cases of homophobic behavior and remarks documented, often with the same negative consequences as those who reported sexist behavior – a hostile and unsupportive work environment.

The Metropolitan Police needs to take serious action to eliminate these discriminatory practices and create a supportive, inclusive work culture. Conclusion:

The Metropolitan Police force needs to take urgent action to address the issues outlined in this article.

Improving the diversity of recruitment, increasing transparency, and providing training on equality, diversity, and inclusion will be key in restoring confidence in the police force. Additionally, the Metropolitan Police must address the particular issues facing different minority groups while putting measures in place to support officers who report instances of such discrimination.

By tackling these issues, Metropolitan Police officers can build trust with the public they serve and become an institution that truly reflects and supports the community.In recent years, there have been several high-profile cases in the UK where the Metropolitan Police has been accused of discrimination. With mounting evidence, there is a growing belief that the Metropolitan Police has a propensity to discriminate against minority communities, women, and individuals from the LGBTQ+ community.

This article explores the Metropolitan Polices propensity to discriminate, focusing on the issues of institutional racism and misogyny and homophobia.

Institutional Racism

A significant issue within the Metropolitan Police is institutional racism, where a disproportionate number of officers are white, despite London being one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. This lack of diversity within the police force has led to accusations of racism in stop and search operations, with some arguing that they are targeted unfairly at minority communities.

In addition, there have been cases of institutional racism in the discourse around discipline and misconduct, where minority officers have been penalized more severely than their white counterparts. Policymakers have linked budget cuts and heavy workload to creating stressful work environments within police services, which in turn can lead to institutional discrimination against minority communities.

Misogyny and Homophobia

The Metropolitan Police has also been accused of being a breeding ground for misogyny and homophobia. While some progress has been made in the under-representation of women, several cases of harassment, bullying and sexism within the police force have come to light.

Women have reported being subject to sustained harassment and sexist behavior from colleagues, including behavior from male colleagues occupying senior leadership roles. Additionally, reports have called attention to the under-representation of individuals from the LGBTQ+ community, with cases of homophobic remarks and behavior documented.

Furthermore, the issue of indirect discrimination is not only related to sexist or homophobic comments and behaviors but also the invisibility of such individuals in specific units who then miss out on opportunities for professional development and recognition. The current structural prejudices against minority groups protect the status quo and maintain a hierarchy where existing groups remain overrepresented, while others are excluded or sidelined.


The Metropolitan Police has a propensity to discriminate against minority communities, women, and individuals from the LGBTQ+ community, perpetuating a hostile environment within the police force. Discrimination can act as a barrier to recruiting and retaining individuals from diverse backgrounds; as such, the Metropolitan Police will need to take significant steps to rebuild trust with those communities that they serve.

To combat institutional racism and misogyny and homophobia, the police will need to take specific measures designed to promote diversity and inclusivity, such as reviewing recruitment and promotion processes, providing unconscious bias training, and embracing more transparent methods of assessing discipline and misconduct. Finally, the enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy towards any discrimination or harassment should become a standard procedure across the entire agency, which will ensure that marginalized groups will become all the more visible and integrated into the agency’s workforce.

In conclusion, the Metropolitan Police faces a range of complex and interrelated problems centered on discrimination, involving institutional racism, misogyny, and homophobia. These issues create a lack of trust in the police, damaging their ability to serve the communities they are supposed to protect.

To resolve these issues, the Metropolitan Police will need to take bold and sustained actions, rebuilding trust with affected communities while implementing measures to promote diversity, inclusivity and upholding the values of the United Kingdom.


Q: What is institutional racism?

A: Institutional racism is when policies, systems, and practices within an organization inherently result in discrimination against people of certain ethnic backgrounds. Q: What is the impact of discrimination on communities?

A: Discrimination leads to mistrust and disengagement with police services, compromising public safety, it also impacts the mental health of individuals who face discrimination. Q: How is the Metropolitan Police dealing with discrimination?

A: The Metropolitan Police has committed to improving recruitment processes, providing mandatory training for staff and actively promoting reporting of discriminatory practice through a zero-tolerance policy now enforced. Q: How does the culture of the Metropolitan Police impact their ability to serve the community?

A: The culture of the Metropolitan Police can be harmful to their ability to establish positive relationships with the community, as a negative culture exposes victims and marginalised members of the community to harm and impunity. Q: Why is it important to address discrimination within law enforcement agencies?

A: Law enforcement agencies must uphold the trust invested in them as the ultimate protectors of the public, and to ensure they are impartialily protecting every citizen equally. By addressing discrimination, they ensure that they represent a standard from which diverse, inclusive and resilient communities can develop.

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