Met Police officers who have broken the law cannot be sacked due to inadequate vetting procedures, the force's chief has admitted.
Sir Mark Rowley said that it is "crazy" that he is not allowed to sack "toxic" officers who are being investigated over allegations of racism or sexual misconduct.
Rowley, who was being questioned over reports of 150 officers currently under investigation, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “We have some very worrying cases with officers who’ve committed criminality whilst police officers and yet I’m not allowed to sack them.
"It’s sort of, it’s crazy.”
Rowley said that "not all" of the cases being investigated will have a case to answer but admitted that "many of them will" – but they could still be reinstated.
He added: “We’ve got some officers who we sacked, but other legal bodies, who have a power to reinstate them, did.
"So I’ve got officers who we determined shouldn’t be police officers and yet I have to keep them.
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"It sounds bizarre – I’m the commissioner, yet I can’t decide who my own workforce is.”
Rowley said prime minister Rishi Sunak and home secretary Suella Braverman have backed his calls for a change in the police recruitment system that will make it easier to remove "toxic people".
He said: “There were cases where there were warning signs and our vetting wasn’t good enough. That’s why we’re beefing that up.”
Rowley, who took over as Met Police commissioner from Dame Cressida Dick in September last year, faces pressure to reform the force after a watchdog found that its anti-corruption systems are not fit for purpose.
A damning review of disciplinary procedures by Baroness Casey found officers and staff were getting away with misconduct and breaking the law, in a conduct system that is itself racist and misogynist.
Rowley said this week: “We are taking our first steps on a journey of reform in the Met.
“I expect to be held accountable for how that transformation of London’s police service evolves in the weeks, months and years ahead."
Responding to Rowley's comments, mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: “Sir Mark is right – the Met must change for our communities and for our officers and for our staff who serve them."