Written evidence submitted by Mr Michael Wearing (POP0004)


I was employed by the Metropolitan Police as a cadet in 1976 and became a constable in 1977.  I retired after 30 years service.   During my career I received very few complaints although one did end up with me on trial at the Old Bailey in 1987 accused of assault and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.


On the positive I arrested three individuals for 3 different murders, received 7 commendations and was on the pilot site for the National Reassurance Programme receiving the award of ‘London’s Community Constable of the Year 2004’ and was selected as 1 of 100 people to be awarded by the Mayor for my ‘outstanding contribution to London life.’


Whereever I worked I took pride in my patch and I always successfully reduced crime.   I had over 30 close friends and acquaintances within police who went on to be convicted of a variety of serious crimes.


I was the subject of at least two death threats and was approached by an armed robber who tried to corrupt me.


I believe I am uniquely placed to provide evidence to the committee and I am happy to expand on any incident or view expressed in this document.


1)                                 What a modern police service, fit for the 2020s and beyond, looks like


1.1 The police quite simply need to focus on reducing crime and catching criminals. To do this effectively they need to have the trust of the community and engage face to face with every victim of crime, and with those they suspect of law breaking.  They need to see themselves and be seen by both law abiding and the criminal element as the referees of society.  Every engagement should have a purpose that focuses on reducing crime and catching criminals.  In particular every officer should have ownership of the crime they are investigating, the prisoner they arrested, and of their specific geographic area.  By this I mean that an officer should remain with the majority of investigations from start to finish.  No crime should be screened out as not worthy of investigation.  Incidents that do not amount to crimes should not be recorded in the way that they currently are, but put in as intelligence reports. Community police constables should never except in the most extreme circumstances be removed from their beats.   They need to be seen as the ‘go to’ person in any area by colleagues and all other officers.   Response teams should not be allocated protracted enquiries or investigations.  CID and other individuals investigating crime should have manageable workloads.  


1,2 To do this effectively the establishment of each police force needs to be significantly increased.


2) What balance police forces in England and Wales should strike between a focus on preventing and solving crime and carrying out their other functions


2.1 The fact that this question is being posed really explains the problem.  The police should be totally focused on reducing crime and catching criminals.  Of course there will always be grey areas when it comes to preserving life or dealing with a person with mental disorder.  But really the first response to a person threatening suicide should be a properly trained mental health nurse not a police officer.  A review of all functions currently carried out by police should assess whether society would be better served by others taking over that role, and being properly funded to allow them to do so.


3) What roles police forces should prioritise


3.1 Reducing crime and catching criminals.


4) What can be done to improve community policing and increase trust in police officers and forces, including on funding and on disciplinary powers when police officer behaviour falls below required standards


4.1 The role of PCSO needs to be phased out.  There are some exceptional ones but the powers they do have are rarely used.  They are an expensive luxury that lack that clout, the powers to reclaim the streets. Police constables need to feel sole ownership for geographic areas, they need to be held accountable for the crime levels on their patch.  They need to engage with both the law abiding and the criminal element, and effectively deal with any criminal activity.  Where other teams are doing operations on their patch they should where possible be briefed and involved.  They should be the public face of the police for their area. 


4.2 The current disciplinary powers and procedures is a shambles.  In many cases it is known from the outset who the officer being complained about is.  In these cases there needs to be a time limit imposed to IOPC investigations.


4.3 In cases where officers have been convicted of a criminal offence the court should be given the power to immediately dismiss the officer.  It is frustrating and a total waste of money waiting for a disciplinary panel to form and make the decision.


5) Specifically, what the Metropolitan Police must do to increase trust under its new Commissioner


5.1 The new commissioner needs firstly to establish trust among his officers.  Trust that if they come forward reporting wrongdoing they will be supported.  Trust that if they make genuine mistakes however damaging to the reputation of the police they will be supported. That trust must include ensuring officers receive adequate breaks for refreshments, and are properly equipped when asked to perform a specific duty.  


5.2 He should re establish a central residential training school that all officers attend in initial training and much of their training thereafter.  This will serve to identify unsuitable individuals before they hit the streets of London, and reinforce standards to those who attend specialist training latter in their careers.  He needs to fight for both a significant increase in the force’s establishment and better remuneration for officers of all ranks.


5.3 In relation to raising the trust the public have in the police, (which incidently is still higher than what they have for many other professions including the media and politicians,)  The new commissioner needs to increase the awareness of the positive interactions the police have with the public.  It is a bizzare society where we televise events like the Oscars and ‘Sportsman of the year’ even ‘Teachers of the year’ but do not cover even on local news the many commendation ceremonies awarding the highest standards of behaviour and performance of police officers.  If the media are not going to cover these events then it is for the Met’s communication team to start pumping these out on social media via live streams.


6) What steps can be taken to improve national conviction rates, including via relationships with other bodies such as the Crown Prosecution Service


6.1 The CPS is and always has been an unnecessary bureaucratic joke.  There are of course many very good solicitors who work for the CPS but unfortunately there are also too many who have presumably failed to find employment elsewhere and seem to have difficulty understanding the law and even the simplest of cases. This is probably about money. Remunerate CPS lawyers better and more efficient and effective solicitors would choose to work for them. 


6.2 Contested cases are a game to be played rather than a process seeking the truth.  Victims are treated appallingly badly by the system.  This is very apparent in cases involving violence where witnesses are not adequately protected from repercussions.   Many refuse to even provide a statement to police, but if they do they are under intense pressure from the moment the defendant gets to hear of it.  We need to better protect and support victims of crime.  We can do this by increasing the establishment of the police and providing the time for officers to support victims.  We need to support organisations like victim support and witness support providing them with adequate funding, training and resources. 


6.3 Importantly we need to remove violent people from our society at the earliest opportunity and ensure that they serve significantly longer sentences than they currently do.


6.4 Similarly we need to deal more appropriately with persistent offenders.  It is ridiculous that individuals can roam the streets with scores of convictions.


6.5 The conviction rate will improve by removing violent offenders and persistent offenders from the streets for longer.  The conviction rate will improve by have more officers patrolling in both uniform and plain clothes providing greater risk of being caught in the act to potential offenders.  It will increase by having all crimes investigated thoroughly.


6.6 Put simply, making it harder for individuals to commit crime will reduce the amount of offences committed, and at the same time it will increase the likelihood of those who commit crime of being caught, and those caught will be imprisoned for longer. This will have two effects reducing the crime levels, and increasing the conviction rate. 


August 2022