Commission to investigate discrimination in Metropolitan Police Service

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has today informed the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (the Met) that it will carry out an investigation into unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation of employees by the Met.

This investigation is a response to longstanding concerns about the Met’s treatment of female, BME and gay officers, and follows the Central London Employment Tribunal’s recent findings in the case of Carol Howard v Metropolitan Police Service that the Met had discriminated against and victimised Ms Howard in contravention of the Equality Act 2010.

The focus of the investigation will be the Met’s Fairness at Work and misconduct procedures.  It will be carried out under section 20 of the Equality Act 2006, which gives the Commission powers to investigate compliance with equality legislation when it suspects that an unlawful act may have been committed.

The Commission’s status as a regulator with statutory investigatory powers will ensure wholly independent scrutiny and enable the Commission to decide whether the Met’s handling of complaints about discriminatory employment practices has broken equality law.

The investigation will commence shortly, and will result in a report by the end of next year of the findings and recommendations for action. Laura Carstensen, an EHRC Board member, has been designated as the lead Commissioner for this investigation.

Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Mark Hammond said:

“The Commission was established to ensure compliance with the laws that protect everyone’s rights to fairness, dignity and respect.  This independent and transparent investigation will establish whether the Met’s procedures for handling employees’ complaints about discrimination comply with the law.  We look forward to helping the Met ensure that its workplace culture and practices inspire public confidence. Today, we are simply announcing the start of a process and, therefore, we will be making no further public statement on the process at this stage.”



For further information please contact the Commission’s media office on 0161 829 8102, out of hours 07767 272 818.

Notes to Editors



  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006. It is an independent body responsible for protecting and promoting equality and human rights in Great Britain. It aims to encourage equality and diversity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. It encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998 and is accredited by the UN as an ‘A status’ National Human Rights Institution.


  • The Board of the EHRC has designated Laura Carstensen lead Commissioner for this investigation. Laura is a senior lawyer, formerly an equity partner at Slaughter and May.  As well as her role as Commissioner at the EHRC, she was recently appointed as non-executive director and chair of the Values & Ethics Committee of The Co-operative Bank plc.   As a Member and Deputy Chairman of the Competition Commission, she has chaired numerous statutory inquiries.