The Mayor of London said he has asked Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services [HMICFRS] to conduct an independent review into the Met’s culture.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “My thoughts today are with the families and friends of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor.
“The evidence given to this inquest was deeply upsetting, and the quality of the investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service at the time of the murders has raised a number of concerns. The impact this has had on the victims’ families and friends – on top of the devastating trauma of the murder of their loved ones – is profoundly distressing, and has damaged the confidence of the LGBTQ+ community in the police.
“While the Met Police has apologised for its failings and made changes since these horrific murders were committed, I have asked Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services [HMICFRS] to conduct an independent inspection into the standards of investigations carried out by the Met Police and ensure there is a clear plan of action.
“It is vital that London’s LGBTQ+ community has confidence in our police, and Baroness Casey’s independent review into the Met’s culture and standards, will address the issues of misogyny, sexism, racism and homophobia, and scrutinise police processes and standards of behaviour amongst officers and staff.
“These young men and their families deserved so much better and I will do everything in my power to make sure that the failings that contributed to the deaths of these innocent young men can never be repeated.”
Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor, Anthony Walgate and Gabriel Kovari were Stephen Port’s victims (Handouts/PA)
/ PA Media
On Friday, the inquest jury found officers in Barking, east London, missed repeated opportunities to catch Port after he plied first victim Anthony Walgate with a fatal dose of date-rape drug GHB and dumped his body.
Port struck three more times before he was caught, killing each victim in near-identical circumstances, with police failing to link him to the other deaths despite detective work carried out by the victims’ family and friends that would lead to the culprit.
Officers had denied accusations of prejudice and homophobia, instead blaming mistakes on being understaffed and lacking resources, with some acting up in senior positions.
Jurors at the inquests into the deaths of Mr Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25, concluded police failings “probably” contributed to the deaths of the three last victims.
The MPs’ letter lists a “litany of failures” by police, including that the individual deaths were not properly investigated because “a presumption was made that these were young gay men, some of them ‘rent boys’, who were habitual GHB users and accidentally overdosed”.
“Throughout the 12 months the murders took place, family members, partners and friends of the victims were ignored by the police,” MPs wrote.
The letter also notes that of the 17 officers investigated for misconduct, none were dismissed.
Relatives of the victims welcomed jurors’ inquest conclusions but were disappointed that the coroner, Sarah Munro QC, ruled the jury could not make a finding on the issue of homophobia for legal reasons.
Port, 46, a bus depot chef, will die in prison after being handed a whole life sentence at the Old Bailey for the murders and a string of sex assaults.