The police watchdog can’t investigate the Met for allowing Downing Street’s lockdown parties because of a legal loophole.

Boris Johnson was among dozens to attend the ‘bring your own booze’ event in May 2020 – one of multiple social gatherings widely thought to have breached the law.

The Met has come under fire given its officers guard the premises – particularly as similar public events were regularly punished.

But the Independent Office for Police Conduct says it is bound by the Police Reform Act 2002, which states it can only investigate police if the complainant was directly affected.

It means anyone who was not at the parties or nearby cannot make a complaint that legally enables the IOPC to investigate.

In essence, that would require a partygoer to report the police for allowing them to party.

An IOPC spokesperson outlined the law by explaining why Baroness Jones’ previous complaint was “invalid”.

“Under the relevant legislation, a valid complaint can only be made where an individual, or someone acting on their behalf, has been adversely affected by the alleged conduct or its effects,” they said.

“There was nothing within the referral to indicate the complainant was physically present or nearby when officers stationed at Downing Street allegedly failed to enforce Covid rules.

“Nor is there a suggestion that they were physically present or sufficiently nearby when the effects of the officers’ alleged actions occurred.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Some have claimed the Met does not want to investigate the parties. Some have claimed the Met does not want to investigate the parties.

Many have also queried why the force has failed to investigate any Downing Street gatherings despite videos and pictures confirming they happened.

Critics have claimed doing so would expose officers either intentionally letting them happen or incompetently missing them.

A Met Police spokesperson said: “As a matter of course, we do not discuss specific details of protective security arrangements we provide at government buildings, as to do so could serve to undermine any such arrangements in place.”

They added: “The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on 20 May 2020 and is in contact with the Cabinet Office.”