In February 2022, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) commissioned a review following the tragic murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer. On 21 March 2023, Baroness Casey handed the MPS a 363-page report detailing the scale of institutional failings towards police officers’ welfare and public safety.

"I make a finding of institutional racism, sexism and homophobia in the Met. – Baroness Louise Casey"

When reading through the Casey report, although saddened and frustrated I was not surprised by her conclusions. 

Prior to joining the Evangelical Alliance, the majority of my career was spent working for different charities supporting young men and women connected to the criminal justice system in some way.

I have mentored 16 – 25-year-old women leaving Holloway prison and integrating back into the community, where for many, the line between offender and victim is blurred in a single story — arrested for aggravated assault, but they themselves a victim of sexual violence or domestic abuse. 


More recently, I worked for a youth charity focused on reducing serious violent crime across London. I had the privilege of running workshops with young people and would listen to them express their fears on the rise and threat of knife crime, drug dealing and violence in their communities, with the collective belief that the police neither cared nor could be trusted.

The needs in socially and economically deprived communities have outgrown the skillset of policing today.

Since 2014, charities have long argued for trauma-informed practice to be central to police training and development. It is evidenced that there is a correlation between poverty and its impact on mental wellbeing, violence and the rates of crime. The evidence is also there to show how an integrated partnership between police, health and education can have a positive impact on reducing anti-social behaviour and violent crime.

Some divisions in the MPS have tried to embed trauma-informed practice into how they support victims and engage in the community, but it is not widespread enough. 

I agree with Baroness Casey’s assessment for a complete culture reset across the MPS. But as a Christian I am compelled to pray and seek God’s kingdom here on earth.

Every London borough should be covered in prayer

The misconduct and mistreatment of some police officers towards others, grieves the heart of God. In crises like these, prayer is essential.

In Luke 18 we encounter the story of the persistent widow. We read how she goes before the judge pleading that he would grant her justice against her adversary’ (Luke 18:3). This story isn’t just about being persistent in prayer, but a reminder to pray for God’s justice to transform institutions, communities and society as a whole.

Here are two ways you can begin to pray effectively for the police and communities in the Capital:

1. Pray the commissioner would have the courage to bring real change to the MPS

"The biggest barrier to change is the Met culture of defensive and denial about the scale of the problem. – Baroness Louise Casey"

On the same day the report was released, Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, appeared on several media platforms stating his commitment to police reform and his sincere apologies for the institution’s failings. 

Saying sorry is necessary but it is not the same as repentance.

We are taught in the Bible that repentance leads to humanity flourishing (2 Chronicles 7:14), removes pride (Psalm 32:9 – 11) and most importantly leads to a change in behaviours and attitudes (Matthew 3:1 – 12). The personal discipline of repentance is important for discipleship and mission, but it is also beneficial for institutions and nations.

Pray for the MPSTurnaround Plan expected in April 2023. The strategy will set out how the MPS will improve trust and standards going forward. Pray that the substance of this plan would outline how the MPS will improve vetting and recruitment of police officers and investigate complaints of existing officers in a timely fashion. 

2. Pray for young Black Londoners

"Black Londoners are over-policed and under-protected. – Baroness Louise Casey"

My concern is that the longer institutional prejudice persists, the less is done to protect young Black Londoners from harm. There is a growing statistic that young Black men are 12 times more likely to be murdered in London than their White counterparts. This problem is not solely for the police to resolve but they do have an important role to play.

In my lifetime, I have witnessed an approach to policing towards the Black community to be one of confrontation, suspicion, and violence. Brixton riots, New Cross fires, the murder of Stephen Lawrence and Mark Duggan and many more are historical moments etched in the consciousness and the experience of Black Londoners.

The review raised concerns relating to the policing of ethnically diverse communities. One finding of huge concern was the disproportionate use of stop and search powers and the strip search of young Black Londoners. One in four Black males aged 15 – 24 were stopped and searched in a three-month period’ and 58% of boys who were strip searched were described by the officer as Black.’

Next month, marks 30 years since the murder of Stephen Lawrence and 24 years since the McPherson review where the phrase institutionally racist’ was first used towards the MPS. Why has little changed with regards to policing of ethnic minority communities in my lifetime? 

Pray for young Black Londoners’ safety and particularly that women’s confidence and trust in the MPS and borough police officers working in their home town would be restored. It is vital Christians continue to pray for their local communities and seek God’s justice during this difficult time.

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