Content warning: References to rape, murder, domestic violence
London mayor Sadiq Khan withdrew his support for the commissioner after he felt her limp plans to reform the police failed to go far enough.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced her resignation on Thursday evening, after insisting she had “absolutely no intention” of quitting.
Cressida Dick has been police commissioner for almost 5 years, and a police officer for 40 years. She made history in 2017 when she became the first female Met Police Commissioner in its 193 year history. In September of 2021 the Home Secretary extended Dick’s 5 year contract by a further 2 years.
The Metropolitan police has taken severe blows to its public image in recent years, some of which are listed below:
- Sarah Evrard was abducted, raped and murdered by a Met Police Officer in 2021
- Clashes between officers and attendees of a Sarah Evrard vigil
- Condemnation of the way the metropolitan police conducted their investigation of the murders of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman in 2020
- The met was forced to apologise and pay compensation to Dr Koshka Duff over brutal and misogynistic conduct that occurred during a wrongful strip-and-search
- A report released in 2021 found that the Metropolitan Police was “institutionally corrupt” in the manner its failings over the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan. It also found that Cressida Dick, Assistant Commissioner at the time, initially refused access to some relevant data to the investigation
- Some question why the met police standing guard outside Downing St. did nothing about the alleged lockdown parties
- The met was accused of institutional homophobia hindering its ability to conduct its investigation into serial killer Stephen Port
The straw that broke the camel’s back came last week, when the IOPC released a report finding evidence of deeply ingrained sexism, racism and homophobia throughout the metropolitan police force. 9 of the investigated officers had remained on the force and two had received promotions.
In the wake of the report, London mayor Sadiq Khan informed Dick that she needed to come up with a plan to rapidly reform the metropolitan police. Khan later said that he was not satisfied with Dick’s response to the scale of the required changes.
The met submitted the commissioner’s plan to City Hall on Friday, with a meeting planned for the following Thursday in order to discuss its contents. After being informed that the Mayor was not satisfied with the plans, Dick announced her resignation on Thursday before the meeting would have taken place.
Dame Cressida Dick announced:
“It is with huge sadness that, following contact with the mayor of London today, it is clear that the mayor no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue. He has left me no choice but to step aside as commissioner of the Metropolitan police service.”
“At his request, I have agreed to stay on for a short period to ensure the stability of the Met and its leadership while arrangements are made for a transition to a new commissioner.”
While the commissioner is chosen by the Home Secretary, they are done so in consultation with the Mayor of London, and they cannot effectively perform their role without mayoral support.
Sadiq Khan apparently did not inform the Home Secretary of his withdrawal of support for the commissioner beforehand, which Priti Patel described as “rude and unprofessional.”
Boris Johnson said of Dame Cressida Dick:
“[She] has served her country with great dedication and distinction over many decades”.
Labour MP Diane Abbott had called for Dick to resign immediately after the release of the IOPC report.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said:
“I thank Cressida Dick for her many years of public service including her work on counter-terrorism and tackling violence in the capital.”
“Reforms are needed to rebuild public confidence in the Metropolitan Police after recent cases.”
Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation Ken Marsh was disappointed to see Dick go, stating:
“Whilst the Federation did not always agree with Commissioner Cressida Dick, we think she was doing a good job in difficult circumstances.”
“Her removal leaves a void in the leadership of London and UK policing at what is a critical time.”
“Cressida Dick should have been given the opportunity and the necessary time to build back trust in the Metropolitan Police Service. She has been denied that. She should have been treated better.”
A rush is now underway to find a new police commissioner.
“Leading the Met is a privilege with enormous and unique responsibilities.”
“The public in London and across the entire country must once again have confidence in the integrity and professionalism of the police officers who serve them.”
“Policing culture and conduct have rightly come under scrutiny. Be in no doubt that a new leader must tackle these institutional issues.”
Sir Paul Stephenson, met police commissioner between 2009-11, said that the mayor and Home Secretary “should be casting the net as wide as possible to find the best possible person and I would not constrict that, not in any way shape or form,” even if that person comes from outside of policing.